Not in Atlanta. The Phillies continue to spin Roy Halladay's struggles positively.
But then again, what is the alternative?
In his 2013 debut against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night, Halladay needed 95 pitches to retire 10 batters. He was gone after 3 1/3 innings of an eventual 9-2 defeat.
Nine of the 10 outs Halladay recorded did come via strikeout, which was somewhat impressive given the quality of his off-speed pitches but more concerning given that it only made his pitch count rise wiht each at-bat.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee spoke about Halladay for nearly 15 minutes on Thursday.
Q: What’s taken so long for it all to click for him?
Dubee: Bad habits. Bad habits that he acquired when he was hurt. This was a guy who did something as consistently as you could possibly do it for years.
Q: Bad habits in delivery?
Dubee: Yes, bad habits to get the ball to the plate last year, trying to work through some of the health issues. And I’m a big believer that the more you do something wrong, the more it becomes ingrained. If you do it wrong and you do it wrong and you do it wrong, it takes time to get that feeling out of your body ad get the right feeling back in it.
Q: What is the bad habit – arm path?
Dubee: He lost direction a little bit in his front side, and of course his arm slot got lower. He’s re-learning (the arm slot), staying more solid on his front side and staying on his line and trying to get better feel for that. But, again, who knows how many pitches he threw last year not feeling right. But because he is talented enough he was still able to go out there and compete. You have to ween off that stuff and get the good stuff in there. And he’s getting it.
Q: Do you think he’s capable of rediscovering old mechanics even with some of the wear and tear maybe he’s sustained?
Dubee: Absolutely. I think, again, over the last 3 outings I’ve been encouraged each time out. I think he’s building and he continues to build.
Q: He's a mentally tough guy. Has this been taxing on him?
Dubee: I don’t think what the media says or what’s out there in this and that is taxing to him, I think whats taxing to him is this guy has tremendous pride and wants to be part of a winner. And he is - like I’ve said many times - he’s probably the most accountable guy I’ve ever been around. And he feels very, very accountable that he has to go out there and pitch well for us to win. And that could be taxing at times, sure. I think it was taxing with cliff last year when he didn’t win for how long. Those things start to wear on you. But this is an accountable guy. I think the more he goes out there and relaxes and is tension-free. He’s going to continue to get it for me.
Q: You said you’ve seen progressions. But when do you need to see results?
Dubee: I think I’m starting to see some results. You think I’m going to take the ball away from this guy? Jesus Christ you’re talking about a two-time Cy Young Award winner. What do you think, we’re going to put him in the bullpen?
I’m seeing results. I’m seeing nine strikeouts out of 10 outs last night. Do you see many other guys doing that in baseball. Yu Darvish against the Astros. Yu Darvish wasn’t facing the Atlanta Braves.
Q: If everything is OK, why did he get away from sinker and cutters?
Dubee: He wasn’t able to do it arm-slot wise.
Q: No, last night. He threw 50 percent off-speed pitches.
Dubee: Because what were they doing? Where they swinging at it?
Q: They also took a lot of them, building pitch count.
Dubee: And that’s the part we have to work to, we have to get quicker outs. ... It’s a matter of making the pitch to finish guys, making that one good, quality pitch.