The Phillies don’t elicit much of a reaction from me (or probably most people) at this point. Blow a 7-1 lead on Sunday? ‘The fuck cares. Excellent pitching performances from Tyler Cloyd and Kyle Kendrick against the Reds. Great, but whatever. Storylines are few and far between unless you look longterm. This is a team without a player chasing any individual accolades. They’re playing out the string—and we’ve all accepted it. But there’s one thing I just can’t figure out—and it’s one of the team’s most pressing issues entering 2013. What the hell is going on with Roy Halladay?
It would be understandable if Halladay’s best years are in fact behind him. And there have been many times this season when it has appeared all but certain they are. Just five days ago the guy was squeezing his ass cheeks together trying not to shit his pants as he was getting rocked in Atlanta. But then he turns around yesterday and spins a masterpiece against the first-place Reds and then you’re all like–guy is still the balls. He pitched into the eighth inning, allowing only one run on eight hits and a walk. It was one of his best starts of the season.
But that’s now the deal with Halladay. The last two games perfectly exemplify where he appears to be at in his career. Some nights his stuff isn’t great, but he’s good enough and experienced enough to go out and perform at an elite level. Some nights you wonder if you’re looking at a once great pitcher that’s set to expire. Despite missing nearly seven weeks, his record sits at a decent 9-7, and he’s shown marked improvement since his return. But he just doesn’t seem to be the same guy that stared down the Reds and Cardinals and Giants with brilliant postseason performances the past two seasons. He was a guy that when you saw his name in the probables—you could cash in a win. Now? Who knows.
The Phillies have a ton of issues to address over the winter months as they try to rebound, but the greatest improvement needs to come from within. As Cliff Lee has finally appeared to hit his stride, it’s important that Halladay has more days like yesterday, and less nights where he’s shitting his pants.