How Much Leash Does Roy Halladay Get?

Roy Halladay had his second straight awful start, allowing seven runs in four innings against the New York Mets last night. His ERA rose to 14.73 which means he will have to find his groove quickly if he wants to best his awful spring performance reflected by his 6.06 ERA in 16.1 innings. Halladay is clearly not the same guy the Phillies acquired back in December 2009, but many — including yours truly — still hold out hope that the right-hander will be able to prolong his career with smart pitch selection and control. Just how long should the Phillies wait for the new, age-adjusted Halladay to emerge, though?

Halladay’s schedule, projected through the end of May, looks like this:

  • April 14 @ Miami Marlins
  • April 19 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
  • April 24 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
  • April 30 @ Cleveland Indians
  • May 5 vs. Miami Marlins
  • May 10 @ Arizona Diamondbacks
  • May 17 vs. Cincinnati Reds
  • May 22 @ Miami Marlins
  • May 28 @ Boston Red Sox

Nine more starts would put him at 11 total, or roughly one-third of a season. It’s not worthwhile to project offense given seven games’ worth of data, but generally speaking, it is a pitcher-friendly schedule. Halladay lucks out by getting the Marlins three times.

I have no finite way of arriving at an answer, though I did theorize such a possibility last month when I looked at contingency plans. Halladay himself calls his issues mental as opposed to physical. Do you take him at his word? How long of a leash do you give the veteran, who turns 36 on May 14?

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  1. Evan

    April 09, 2013 07:14 AM

    It almost looks like he has to pitch a brand new way, something that he doesn’t quite get yet. He does have the Marlins and Pirates in three of the next five starts, maybe let him off the hook until then, but if he gets plastered by two weak hitting teams, then it may be time to let him work out the issues in the minors (2 starts in A, 2 in AA and 2 in AAA…something like that. Feign a DL issue)

  2. Cutter

    April 09, 2013 07:43 AM

    Many people were saying before the season that “Roy will be fine, even with diminished stuff because he has such a good mental approach and knows how to pitch so well.”

    But it almost seems like his mental approach is now a detriment as he’s out thinking himself out there.


    April 09, 2013 07:51 AM

    Halladay gets 3 more starts, IMO. I said before the season that he gets 5 to figure his new style out. Otherwise, he goes down and Adam Morgan comes up (4 lefties in the rotation is dangerous, but necessary at that point). Feign a DL issue and let him go figure it out. Also, Ruf needs to be brought up now. Bye Carrera. Gonna have to have a rotating outfield at the corners of Delmon, Dom, and Darren once Young comes off the DL. Mayberry, Nix giving nothing re: power. Also, Ruf can give Howard “a rest” vs. lefties at 1st base. It’s a lot to ask of the young man, but it’s time. Also, Durbin needs to be optioned / released, and DeFratis needs to assume his role. Valdez needs to be put on notice too.

  4. TomG

    April 09, 2013 07:51 AM

    This is tough. My thought is, if anyone deserves to be allowed his dignity, it’s Doc. Bu then, what would be more of an indignity? Letting him continue pitching at the major league level if he continues to get lit up? Or sending him down to the minors with the transparently false excuse that he’s “injured”? I don’t really know.

    It’s just sad all around. But I haven’t given up hope just yet, either. If anyone can figure it out, it’s Doc and with any luck he becomes a guy who can give six solid innings per start – the equivalent of a competent #4 starter.

    Wow. Saying that about Doc Halladay is also kinda sad.

  5. DP

    April 09, 2013 08:52 AM

    @ VDSTRADING – agreed 100% on all counts. Couldn’t have said it better myself.


    April 09, 2013 09:09 AM

    @DP – Yeah, he’s got to put the Phils in position to win 2 of those games. Doesn’t necessarily have to win, but has to keep them in the game. Those are 3 beatable opponents with 2 (Marlins, Pirates) having bottom 10 offenses. After that, sure he’s got Miami twice, but he also has Boston, Cleveland, Arizona, and the Reds…all of which are good hitting teams. He pitches like this vs. those teams, that’s a guaranteed 0-4. Can’t have that happen. So, next 3 games it is, and then a decision will be made.

  7. Dan

    April 09, 2013 09:22 AM

    Braves fan here, and it’s sad to see Halladay struggling so much. Of course I want my team to beat him, but he’s one of those guys who everyone respects. It’s crazy that his decline (even though it seems a little exaggerated right now) has come so fast.
    Mike Minor went through an awful spell last year and then figured it out, here’s hoping Halladay can do the same…except against the Braves.

  8. Phillie697

    April 09, 2013 09:27 AM

    Why does Ruf has come be brought up now? I’m not understanding the reason.

  9. Jonny5

    April 09, 2013 10:29 AM

    I’d say he gets as many chances as it takes within reason. I say he should work at it more and if it means going down to where losses don’t hurt as much, so be it. I for one think he can and will get through this, it’s going to take some getting used to. I’d swap him out with a AAA pitcher until he gets his crap together if he blows up in one more game.

  10. DP

    April 09, 2013 10:43 AM

    @ VDSTRADING – exactly. we can’t keep trotting him out there like this much longer because it messes everything up (e.g. bullpen, bench etc.). moreover, you can tell the players know it and it’s demoralizing to have to start a game knowing the starter is going to have 100 pitches in the 4th inning and you’ll be down 3-4+ runs. it’s different if the team has that mindset for the 5th starter but not when you have to play like that for starters 3-5. RAJ needs to take some action before it gets too ugly. I’m not expecting this team to win the WS but he’s got to cut bait, bring up the kids and see what we have because we are in rebuilding mode whether he wants to admit it or not.

  11. pedro3131

    April 09, 2013 11:20 AM

    He looked pretty good in spots. and then in other spots he was sweating profusely and getting hit hard. And then of course Charlie left him out a little longer then necessary and pretty much invited those base runners to leisurely stroll home by bringing durbin in.

    I think he’ll be fine. Not great but fine. You can’t expect even a diminished Doc to continue to not allot any infield fly balls or continue posting a 42.9 hr/fb%


    April 09, 2013 11:27 AM

    Ruf needs to be brought up to add some pop. We’re getting zero power out of the 4 and 5 spots. I have no doubt that Howard will get his share of dingers, but Young at the 5 spot every game doesn’t provide the necessary protection. He’s a good hitter for average, but has zero power. Pitchers need to understand that if they throw Howard crap (and he has to do his part by not swinging at it), there needs to be a potential costly penalty sitting there at #5. It makes the whole lineup more effective. Dom can play some RF, Ruf can play some left and even some 1st to give Howard “a rest.”

  13. EricL

    April 09, 2013 11:40 AM

    Stop with the Darin Ruf longing. He needs more practice in the OF because he’s awful there, and it’s unlikely he gives you much more at the plate than a Mayberry/Nix platoon will in the meantime.

    Also, lineup “protection” isn’t a thing that exists.

  14. Pencilfish

    April 09, 2013 11:58 AM


    Long-term, Ruf needs to get more playing time in the OF at AAA, but how did you arrive at the conclusion that Ruf’s bat is not much more than a Mayberry/Nix platoon at the plate? What is that based on?

  15. Phillie697

    April 09, 2013 12:16 PM

    Darin Ruf, in 57 ST ABs, hit .246 with an OPS of .784. That is bested by the awesome hitters that are the likes of Tommy Joseph, Douchbag Betancourt, Cody Asche, Kevin Frandsen, and Eric Kratz.

    And before you say 57 ABs means nothing, that’s MORE ABs than what people usually point to as his “MLB credential,” namely the 37 PAs he got last Sept. So far in 23 PA in AAA, he has hit no HRs and has an ISO of .136. I mean, I admit we’re ALL going around claiming this or that with absolutely ZERO data to back it up, but if you’re going to advocating bringing someone up to the majors, you better have some evidence, otherwise like I said in some comments past, put me on the roster then. I have no track record, just like Ruf.

  16. Pencilfish

    April 09, 2013 12:25 PM


    While Ruf had 37 PA in 2012, you had 0. Doesn’t Ruf have a longer track record than you do ๐Ÿ™‚ ?! Chances are RAJ will call up Ruf before he calls you up!

  17. Phillie697

    April 09, 2013 12:33 PM

    Pffft, 1) 37 PA is nothing :P; and 2) Being called up by RAJ isn’t exactly an honor, just ask Dom Brown.

  18. joecatz

    April 09, 2013 01:10 PM

    The leashes length is 100% tied to two things.

    1. His replacement
    2. The team as a whole

    If the rest of the team gets their “act together” meaning the middle relief, Hamels, Howard, etc.. and they’re winning? the leash is much shorter than if they continue to implde at a comical rate like they did this first week.

    If the middle pen isn’t doing any better, how much more are you gonna get from 5 innings of Tyler Cloyd or Jon Pettibone anyway? thats the bigger rub here.


    April 09, 2013 02:15 PM

    Eric and Phillie697-

    Darin Ruf had 41 home runs combined last season in about 550 plate appearences, the vast majority at Reading. John Mayberry had 14 HRs in 480 MLB ABs. Laynce Nix has had 67 HRs in 11 SEASONS. Neither RF option is giving us squat at the plate, nor will it improve much based on their histories. And lineup protection doesn’t exist? Really? How’d Howard do with Burrell and Werth behind him for all those years? How about with Ibanez behind him for the 1st half of ’09? Getting guys on in front of the cleanup man AND protection from the #5 hitter both matter…a lot.

  20. Pat

    April 09, 2013 03:28 PM

    I’m agnostic on Ruf as a hitter, but to say there’s no evidence that he can hit is just silly. He had 40 homers and an OPS over 1.000 last year.

  21. Phillie697

    April 09, 2013 04:53 PM

    … And by June, if he’s the real deal, he’ll rake in AAA and we’ll have to bring him up. That’s how it works. Just ask Dom. For now, his offensive production is iffy enough that his by all accounts absolutely horrendous defense by itself is reason not to put him out there. Both Mayberry and Nix at least rate as average defensively, so that means they’re already worth a good 10-15 runs a season more than Ruf on defense alone, conservatively speaking.

    For example, by UZR, Raul Ibanez, also horrendous defensively, cost the Phillies 19.2 runs on defense in 2011. You know what else Ibanez did that year? He hit for low average, couldn’t walk worth a darn, and struck out a lot. But he did hit for a bit of power (20 HRs). That’s Darin Ruf in a nutshell right now.

  22. EricL

    April 09, 2013 11:29 PM

    Phillie is right. Whatever improvement–if any–you get from Ruf’s offense over Mayberry (who hits lefties to a tune of .285/.330/.545, by the way) and Nix (.742 career OPS vs. RHP) will almost assuredly be erased by the loss of value on defense.

    We all know what Ruf did in Reading last year, but you have to remember that he was MUCH older than the average player there, and that it was two levels below the majors. Baseball is littered with guys who mashed in double A and crapped the bed in the majors. His offensive success in the bigs is by no means guaranteed. On the other hand, we know pretty much exactly what to expect from Mayberry and Nix, and it’s passable.

    Finally, nearly every study that has ever looked for lineup protection has found that it doesn’t exist to any measurable degree. You find good players hit well, regardless of who is behind them in the lineup, and bad hitters don’t hit well, regardless of who is behind them in the lineup. Your anecdote about Howard is irrelevant, and probably has more than a little bit to do with him being at the peak of his physical ability back in the Burrell days, and his more recent, disappointing seasons coming as he’s been older, slower and injured.

    Just for fun, take a gander at how Barry Bonds performed in 2003 and 2004 after he lost the “protection” that Jeff Kent had provided (from 2000-2002 Kent hit .315/.387/.556 mainly batting directly behind Bonds)

  23. Cheesecrop

    April 10, 2013 08:27 AM

    When it comes to Halladay, I’d give him till the May 5th start against the Marlins. After that, you’ve got Arizona, who might be tough, & the Reds, who you know will be tough. (not that the Cards are a joke, & they’re earlier on the schedule).

    Give him at least another 5 starts. If something has to change (perhaps a minor league stint), wait until May.

  24. Phillie697

    April 10, 2013 09:57 AM


    You know how people think Barry Bonds’ increased head size is comical? People should go to his fangraph page and stare at his numbers. That’s some comical stuff right there. I mean, was he even human??? .536 ISO??? ISO????? Are you fing kidding me???

  25. Pencilfish

    April 10, 2013 10:16 AM

    EricL, Phillie697,

    Nix/Mayberry are not only passable. They are very replaceable. Delmon Young is getting closer to a rehab assignment in the minors, which means both Nix and Mayberry will ride the bench soon, as they should. This is NOT an endorsement of Delmon Young as a RF. It’s more an indictment of Nix and Mayberry as regular starters.

  26. joecatz

    April 10, 2013 10:23 AM

    for everyone pining over Ruf, the guy you should really be pining over is Nate Schierholtz, who, 7 games and 24 PA against RHP has put up a pedestrian 333/417/619 line with 3 doubles, a HR and a SB as the LH platoon for Chicago.

    If you wanna bitch about a bad move by the organization in regards to any OF this offseason, thats the one to get behind.

  27. Pencilfish

    April 10, 2013 10:28 AM

    The recent controversy of Kratz being benched in favor of Quintero
    reminds me that Ruiz is eligible to come back on Sun. April 28 (@ the Mets). If the rotation stays on schedule, Ruiz will catch Hamels that day, followed by Halladay (@ the Indians) the next day. It will be interesting to see if Ruiz has an effect on Halladay’s pitching performance, specially on the number of walks.

  28. TomG

    April 10, 2013 01:00 PM


    I came across the highlights of a Cubs game recently and every time Schierholtz’s name came up I found myself scratching my head anew over the inexplicable decision to non-tender him. Re-signing him, to me, seemed a no-brainer.

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