This was NOT how we wanted to see Roy Halladay potentially finish his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Monday night, after throwing just 16 pitches, soaking wet from sweat on the field where he pitched the greatest game of his life just three seasons ago, Roy Halladay‘s career with the Phillies appeared to end in the Phils’ 4-0 loss to the Marlins in Miami.
Looking so much thinner, with his face beet red, Halladay left the game with what was termed “arm fatigue,” something not unexpected in his recovery from shoulder surgery, according to team officials.
But Halladay’s arm is not the whole story. He says it feels fine, that there is no pain. He said he was sweating because he was working “so hard” just to make the 16 pitches he made.
What is also at issue is a medical problem that Halladay says has now been addressed.
“We got it figured out,” said Halladay. “Some of it’s personal. It’s a family history deal. It took us a while to figure out the cause and basically it’s related to diet. They put me on some medicine that will prevent that from happening and ever since then it’s been great.”
This is not the first time Roy has struggled to get through a start while looking physically exhausted. In Chicago a few years ago, a noticeably overheated Halladay had to leave a game early due to fatigue. It’s happened other times too. Although on that steamy Chicago evening, temperatures were in the 90s with a suffocating humidity. Last night, with the roof closed, it was 77 degrees.
Halladay looked like he was pitching on the surface of the sun.
Last night, Halladay lasted just three batters. His best fastball was only 83 mph. One has to wonder why team officials even let him take the mound in the first place after what I’m sure couldn’t have been a productive pre-game warm-up. And, after talking to the man who operated on his shoulder in May, Neal ElAttrache, Halladay was told he needed three weeks of rest, starting now.
That means, Halladay has likely pitched his last game in a Phillies uniform.
Oh sure, Ruben Amaro said on Monday that he’d like to have Roy back next year, but did not say whether the team plans to re-sign him. He also said last night Halladay’s weight loss doesn’t concern him all that much.
“We’re obviously concerned about his health because of the virus stuff, but nothing other than that,” Amaro said. “I’m not concerned about [his weight]. “He wanted to pitch. We weren’t going to hold him back, especially if the doctor said he couldn’t do any damage. …He’s still getting paid, he should pitch.”
No, Ruben. Sometimes you have to tell your children “no.” It’s part of being in charge.
“After the first hitter, (pitching coach Rich) Dubee went over to the stairs,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He was on close watch. We were all on close watch. We didn’t know what those pitches were. Change-ups? We didn’t know.”
You didn’t know??? Wasn’t there SOMEONE in charge who could have watched Roy warm up last night? Wasn’t there ANYONE who thought to say, “You know, maybe we shouldn’t let him go out there with him struggling physically. Maybe we should DO something about this.”?
And even though he is “getting paid to pitch,” did we really need Halladay to “earn” that portion of his salary last night, Ruben? I mean, I know you’re paying him in good old fashioned American currency, but does that mean you have run him out there when he clearly didn’t have the ability to throw a baseball? Have we not extracted enough blood from this rock?
Look, everyone wants Roy Halladay to be OK. Everyone wants to see him hop on a pitcher’s mound and, suddenly and without warning,look like the Roy Halladay of old. But how many more times do we have to see him get up on the bump before we realize that pitcher is almost certainly gone forever?
A shoulder injury is worrisome. But this underlying health issue is just as scary. Hopefully, they have it under control and Halladay is going to be fine.
But as the Phils get ready to make decisions for 2014, they can’t really give Halladay anything other than an invitation to spring training, right? I mean, this team already has so many question marks and holes to fill, they can’t seriously be thinking about committing themselves to Roy for next year, can they?
And is there any team out there in Major League Baseball that, seeing what happened last night, will be willing to guarantee him a Major League contract next season?
Halladay wants to pitch and someone will give him an opportunity. Who knows, maybe it will be the Phillies. But anyone counting on him to become anything like what he was is deluding themselves.
What we are watching is one of the saddest and most depressing ends to a career since Steve Carlton limped off into the sunset. We’re watching a first ballot Hall-of-Famer physically fall apart right in front of our eyes.
It’s tough to watch.
This is not how Halladay’s Phils career was supposed to end. In these last two years, the cruelty of baseball cheated both Halladay and the Phillies out of some precious time. We’ll always remember his first two years here as being truly incredible. But there should have been more.
It’s nobody’s fault. Players can’t play forever.
Knowing that doesn’t make it any less sad.