Full disclaimer: We like high pitch counts here at Phillies Zone. We think there are spots when they are warranted and situations where they are not. We think there are some pitchers who can handle it and some who cannot. We don't think 100 should be the magic number. In every instance, caution should always be a thought out process.
Roy Halladay threw 132 pitches on a cold, wet Tuesday night in May. It was the most any pitcher has thrown in the majors this season. It was one shy of Halladay's career-high of 133 pitches, done June 2, 2009.
In his last four starts, Roy Halladay has averaged 122.5 pitches. For the first time in his career, he has thrown at least 115 pitches or more in four straight starts.
And it's not even June yet.
We can't pass judgment because we just don't know. Roy Halladay is a freak. He is unlike any pitcher in the majors right now. With four complete games in 2010, he has more than any other single team does. He has 25 complete games in the last three seasons and has led the majors each year.
It's not even June yet.
Charlie Manuel said he did not go out with the intention of pulling Halladay. He has said earlier in the season Halladay has different rules than most any other pitcher. But when his ace gets over 120 pitches, Manuel said he becomes concerned. He wanted to check on Halladay. He told him he was fine.
Afterward, Halladay was asked if he ever told a manager he wasn't fine.
"Not that I can remember," Halladay said.
Twice before, Halladay threw 115 pitches or more in three consecutive games.
From Aug. 29 to Sept. 10, 2007, Halladay averaged 124.3 pitches per game. He lost one and had a no decision in the other two starts. After that stretch, he made his final three starts of the season and won two of them.
From April 26 to May 6, 2009, Halladay averaged 117.7 pitches per game. He won all four starts. After that stretch, he won his next two starts and didn't lose until June 29. He made 32 starts in 2009.
But Halladay has always been known for high pitch counts. Last season, he threw 100 pitches or more in 17 straight starts from July 4 to Sept. 30.
He has thrown 100 pitches or more in all eight of his starts as a Phillie, which ties the second-longest streak of his career. He's done it four other times.
Another reason why Halladay is unlike any other pitcher: He tracks and charts every pitch he throws. Every single one. And this includes his side bullpen sessions and his spring training work. He's done it ever since he was demoted to single A in 2000.
So Halladay said he doesn't worry about the high pitch counts early in 2010.
"I've learned you make the adjustments on your work days in between," Halladay said. "That's where you adjust for how many pitches you throw. If you throw more, you cut down on your bullpen. I've always felt that I can regulate how I feel every five days as long as I'm smart about my work days."
Is that a challenge?
"No," Halladay said. "You have to know your body. You have to know when you need to step back. I think that's most important. You can't always go out and do the same things in between. You have to adjust for how you're feeling and how things went before.
"In the next couple days I'll see how I feel and if I need to back off a bullpen or something, I'll do it. But you just have to listen to your body."
We'll see. That's all we can say at this point. The Phillies signed Halladay to pitch key games in October. He's never had to do that in his career. Does that mean he needs to change his regimen somewhere along the way to be prepared for the playoffs?
And he's 33 years old. What worked before may not work anymore.
But Halladay is as prepared as they come. That much we do know.