Erik Kratz kindly took over the choir of every starting pitcher on the day they pitch: talking to the media after the game.
Here is the complete and candid Erik Kratz talking about Roy Halladay, who left Sunday's game after just one inning with a stomach illness.
Q: His last start compared to this one? (He gave up 7 runs on 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday)
Kratz: "(On Tuesday) his cutter wasn’t cutting, he wasn’t locating his pitches where he wanted to, so when you’re trying to work on things, you’re continually banging your head against the wall and trying to get it done and he wasn’t able to do it. This time he was able to do it pretty well. Very well."
Q: Did you know he was sick today?
Kratz: Yeah I saw. I saw. There were some symptoms and he didn’t make it out for the anthem. He tried to gut through it. And you could see it on the mound. He was taking time and for Roy to take time, that’s a sign right there that there was something going on. He didn’t look too good, let’s put it that way.
Q: So he warmed up with you pregame, then went back in clubhouse?
Kratz: "I saw him go back in, I’m not sure (when), he hadn’t started throwing. He went back in then came back out. I wasn’t sure if he had forgotten something or if he had been doing some stretching. I didn’t notice anything until we started walking to the dugout. And then we went in the dugout and he said he was going to stay in the tunnel for the anthem. That’s when it really started to set in. By the time he got out there, I knew he had said something to (a trainer), that he wasn’t feeling real good, so he just made sure he got all of his pitches in."
Q: How did he look in that first inning?
Kratz: "He was executing his pitches. His cutter was cutting, his sinker was sinking and he was throwing them on the corners. For him, that’s huge. I don’t have any idea what his velocity was and that’s neither here nor there, because when he’s on, he’s locating his pitches. And he was able to do that. We got a lot, we got everything, all of his pitches in in the first inning and he battled through his sickness.
Q: Comprare that to when you caught him Tuesday?
Kratz: "Oh, my. A lot better. But like I said before, that day we were trying to work on some things, and there were some situations where it was, hey, we’re probably going to go away from something that was working – he was persistent, trying to get that pitch, trying to get a couple of pitches going. So it’s harder to evaluate. But definitely, his stuff was way better."
Q: Did you sense today would be a short outing?
Kratz: "I had no sense. Until when he was out there throwing and not feeling the best and taking his time, that’s obviously not what we want to do, but everyone else picked him up."
Q: Did you talk to him after that inning?
Kratz: "He was hurting pretty good. He was hurting pretty good after the inning. So there wasn’t any – I’m not a doctor. But I can see sick. I’ve seen sick and that was sick."
Q: Today aside, how has he looked to you this spring? Everyone is questioning after last year, that last start. What’s your confidence level that he’s going to be the guy people remember from 2011?
Kratz: "100 percent. I think there’s something to be said when competitive people don’t do as well as they want. I think, he would never say it, but there were some issues he was dealing with last year that he was trying to fight through. And fighting through those shows his competitiveness. He didn’t have the success that he wanted, and then things changed for him in the offseason. A guy who is annually, year in and year out going to work hard, and now he’s going to get a little more information. He had a little bit of a down year and you learn from your mistakes. How he looks physically, and his mental aptitude, that’s never in question. How he loks physically and how he’s carrying himself around in between starts. I’m excited, let’s put it that way."
Q: With him working on things last time, only one inning today – are you confident he can be where he needs to be for first start of season?
Kratz: "For sure. For sure. A guy with less experience, you’d probably worry, but maybe he’ll throw a few more pitches in his next outing, his next bullpen – he’s had these situations before. He and Dubee will work through it as far as his pitch count. I think you can really set yourself back if you go out there throwing sick, it’s kind of like throwing hurt, you wil do things your body is not going to do. If he had gone out there and thrown 50 or 60 more pitches under those conditions, it probably wouldn’t have been good for the long term."