CHICAGO -- Charlie Manuel spoke in hyperbole at first, saying he had seen baseball played in 125- or 130-degree weather. Then he noted a game earlier this season.
"We played in Washington earlier this year, and he pitched, and it was maybe hotter there," Manuel said. "The humidity might have been a little worse today, but it was 103 there."
Actually, it was 92 degrees at first pitch May 30, the day Roy Halladay grinded seven innings against the Nationals in stifling D.C. heat. That game was played during the day and it was especially hot. During the game, Halladay ran back to the Phillies clubhouse to completely change his uniform because it was so drenched in sweat.
"I don't know what helps when it gets that hot," Halladay said that day.
He is a meticulous worker, lauded for his routine and intense workouts. Halladay has often said he wants game day to be his easiest day. That's what the routine ensures: No surprises.
That made Monday at Wrigley Field all the more shocking. As Rich Dubee aptly summarized the evening, "He's the last guy you'd expect something like this to happen."
Then, unprompted, Dubee discussed a theory of his.
"I'm not making excuses but I've said it before, guys who go to the All-Star Game, they come back a little drained," Dubee said. "It's a busy three days. You look at [Mets outfielder Carlos] Beltran now with the flu. Doc tonight. That first week back the guys don't generally respond too well. It's a hectic schedule. You fly into another time zone, you have banquets, and there's a lot to it.
"This guy takes tremendous care of himself."
That is why Dubee, possibly, is searching for something to pinpoint the dehydration. It's not an implausible theory. Check out Halladay's pitching lines in his first start back from the All-Star break over the past five seasons:
2007 at BOS: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 122 PIT
2008 at TB: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 96 PIT
2009 vs. BOS: 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 105 PIT
2010 at CHC: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 87 PIT
2011 at CHC: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 69 PIT
There's one very good start in there, a complete game against Boston in 2009 -- which just so happens to be the other season Halladay started the All-Star Game. No, there's not enough for causation here, but it's an interesting theory nonetheless.
Dubee was wary of Halladay and his other aces pitching in the All-Star Game because he viewed this as a time for the heavily used arms to rest. He slotted Halladay and Cliff Lee at the back of the rotation in the second half to allow for an extra day.
Because of that, both Halladay and Lee will not face the San Francisco Giants when they arrive at Citizens Bank Park next week for an NLCS rematch. (Somewhere, Bruce Bochy cackles.) Dubee said even before Halladay's abbreviated night he planned on utilizing Thursday's off day for another breather. Every pitcher will start on an extra day of rest.
It didn't help Halladay on Monday. But nothing, not even his grueling workout or dedicated planning, could keep him on the mound at Wrigley.
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