It was St. Patrick’s Day in Clearwater, Florida, and the crowd was filled with fans wearing Phillies gear, but with a touch of green to celebrate the holiday. On the mound was the Phillies’ Roy Halladay, who earlier in the week learned he would not be starting on opening day for the first time in over a decade. If ever there was a game you would expect Halladay to come out and prove himself it was this one. However, this game did not go as the Phillies had hoped, and there is now a real sense of concern surrounding the Phillies former ace.
As it turns out, Roy Halladay was forced to leave the game early for what was referred to by the Phillies as “stomach issues.” This was after a pitching performance that saw Halladay topping off in the mid 80s with his fastball and lacking control of his best pitch, the cutter. After last season being so injury filled and not a normal Roy Halladay year a rebound was expected this season. Halladay after all has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for over 10 years, and just two years ago, he helped lead the Phils to over 100 wins.
Now, here we are in late March. The season is only a few weeks away, and the biggest question in Philadelphia is not, “how do you want your cheesesteak?” Instead, it’s “is the backbone of the Phillies pitching staff half of what he use to be?” The Phillies season depends heavily on how Roy Halladay comes back from last season. Any nagging injury this early in the season would most likely linger throughout the year, and with Washington and Atlanta both projected to have monster seasons, the Phillies can’t afford to start this season with Roy Halladay being a question mark.
The “stomach issue” excuse is what really has Philadelphia fans worried. It just seems like a made up excuse. It sounds like something I told my teacher when I didn’t do my homework during my freshman year of high school. I can look past the fact the Roy Halladay is throwing in the mid-80s right now. The spring is all about locating your pitches and finding your groove. Adjustments are made on a daily basis. Spring training is practice after all. If he is only topping off his fastball at 86 in July, then there is definite reason for concern.
With the Phillies getting older, it seems now more than ever there is a sense of urgency with the club, and the last few Roy Halladay outings have made Philadelphia sports fans unsettled. This could be an overreaction, and the stomach issues may have been real, but going off my personal experience, I never did my homework when I made that excuse.