The last piece of the Phils’ so-called winning puzzle officially makes his return on Tuesday. Roy Halladay, the unquestioned #1 ace of the staff, will make his first start since May 27th, when he pitched just two innings against St. Louis, giving up four earned runs.
In Halladay’s absence, the Phillies have gone a Major League worst 12-27, which is perfectly understandable considering that on days Halladay isn’t pitching, he plays third base and was hitting over .300.
Oh wait, what’s that you say? You say Roy Halladay only pitches once every five days? You say he doesn’t actually play any baseball games the four games in between starts? He doesn’t actually hit at all when he’s not pitching?
Then how is it so many people believe a massive turnaround will begin once Mr. Halladay returns? And how is it the Phillies have been so bad in all those other games?
Oh yeah. The offense, defense and bullpen all stink.
I know, I know. An absent ace, especially when replaced by a #7 starter like Kyle Kendrick, can deplete a bullpen and screw things up for future games. But, just like the return of Utley and Howard didn’t do anything to reverse the fortunes of this last place team, the return of Halladay probably won’t do a whole lot to change things either.
Yes, that’s the cynical view, to be sure.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee made the announcement before Saturday night’s game against the Rockies after Halladay threw 28 pitches in the bullpen on Saturday afternoon and said he “felt fine.”
Actually, Halladay never said he “felt fine.” Instead, he grunted something inaudible, pointed to his biceps, and then drew a picture of a stick figure in a Phillies uniform throwing off a mound. Pitching coach Rich Dubee took that as a good sign.
“As of right now, he will pitch Tuesday unless I’m told he can’t,” Dubee said.
Halladay struggled in the first two months of the season while battling soreness behind his right shoulder, going 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA, with the Phillies 4-7 in his 11 starts this year. That’s a far cry from last year, when he went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and 8 complete games, and his Cy Young season in 2010, when he threw a perfect game, a no-hitter, and a league-leading 21 wins with a 2.44 ERA.
Halladay made a minor-league rehab appearance Monday for single-A Clearwater and pitched three innings, saying afterward that all felt normal.
And, because Roy Halladay is a cyborg from the future determined to destroy us all, that’s about all the rehab his robot-like arm needed in order to regenerate itself.
Whether he helps lead a team-wide turnaround or not, it’ll be great to see Roy back on the mound, hopefully making National League hitters looked like smacked asses once again.