ATLANTA – Rich Dubee continues to see progress even though the desired results remain elusive for Roy Halladay.
“As far as Doc’s stuff, I feel very good about it,” the Phillies’ pitching coach said Thursday after watching Halladay record only 10 outs – nine via strikeout – in Wednesday night’s 9-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. “I think he continues to build. Like I said his last two outings in spring training, he’s starting to build momentum. Is he there yet? No. But I thought his stuff continues to improve. The one thing he’s not doing, he’s not commanding it like he needs to.”
Dubee also touched on a number of other subjects about Halladay’s bizarre seasonal debut in which the two-time Cy Young Award winner needed 95 pitches to cover 3 1/3 innings, but recorded more strikeouts than any starting pitcher since 1900 in that short of an outing.
Here is a sampling of some of the other things Dubee said about Halladay’s outing.
_On why it took 95 pitches to get 10 outs: “They’re usually a … hit and get out of the box team. They took a lot more pitches, they fouled off some pitches and they stayed in their at-bats. They did it to Cole (Hamels), too. Cole ran up some pretty big numbers pitch-wise for five innings. They’ve done a pretty good job and we haven’t made that one good-enough pitch to finish them off yet. It’s early.”
_On whether Halladay is trusting his arsenal of pitches: “I don’t know if it’s an issue of trusting his stuff as much as trying to get to where he understands what his stuff is and how it’s going to play and how he can work off that. It’s still a phase where he’s trying to find out what he’s going to have and what he’s going to be able to do.”
_On why Halladay was using more offspeed pitches: “Hitters will dictate that a lot of times. If they’re still charging fastballs and you’re getting some of the swings you’re getting off breaking balls and splits, why wouldn’t you throw it?”
_On how troublesome it is that it took Halladay 95 pitches to get 10 outs: “Sometimes you can’t do nothing about them swinging and missing balls. There were a lot of deep counts, yes. If you look, usually teams go up there swinging early against him. They did not as much. Maybe that was part of him not throwing as many strikes in spring training, so they were a little more patient. Usually when he is on his game, people are going up there and swinging early.
“When he gets back on his game, they will have to swing early because he’ll be pounding the strike zone like he is capable of doing. If you were an advance scout and you saw him in spring training, you’d say, ‘Hey, be patient with him.’ And they were, so you have to give them credit, too.”
_On whether a decrease in velocity makes it more difficult for Halladay to pound the strike zone: “I don’t think so, no, because he’s still got real good movement.”