May 29, 2010: the day Roy Halladay carved his name into Phillies’ lore forever.
May 29, 2012: arguably Halladay’s worse moment since he was traded to the Phillies.
In Halladay’s third season with the Phillies, the numbers and performances aren’t what they used to be in the first two. The date in which Halladay made his first trip to the DL as a member of the Phillies and since 2004.
Two years prior to that, Halladay made his most memorable start as a Phillie. Doc was as surgical as ever and provided a lifelong memory to many Phillies fans as he mowed down one Marlins hitter after another en route to a perfect game, the 20th in major-league history.
That night, things didn’t get any better it appeared. Halladay, who was acquired by the Phillies that offseason in a controversial move that involved the trade of fan-favorite Cliff Lee, had proved the Phillies to be right all along. They not only got the guy they wanted; they got the best pitcher in baseball.
But times have certainly changed. Halladay was riding a wave of personal achievement with his perfect game, playoff no-hitter and Cy Young season. In his first two seasons combined, Halladay went 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA.
This season has been a completely different story. Halladay looked as masterful as ever when he pitched eight shutout inning on Opening Day. Put to rest all of the talk during spring training about lower velocity, lack of location and everything else that would contribute to his downfall. None of it was evident there.
But then Halladay went on a rough losing streak. After Doc started the season at his usual pace, going 3-0, he slipped to fall to 3-4. He would break the losing streak with a win over the Cubs, but one that was far from his best.
Things really seemed to be a problem throughout the month of May. He was 3-2 after April, but had allowed six runs in his two losses combined, so there didn’t seem to be a problem as much as there was lack of run support.
But when he blew a 6-0 lead to the Braves, allowing eight runs in a no-decision, and allowed four runs in two innings against the Cardinals, just one start after allowing five runs in six innings to the Nationals, something was definitely wrong then.
Baseball is a funny game in that sense. When Doc allowed eight runs to Atlanta, it appeared it was just the bad start he was due for. When it happened twice more before the month was out, things looked bleak for the right-hander as a doctor visit was scheduled.
So here we are. Two years to the date after Halladay achieved baseball immortality with perfection, he now falls onto the wounded warriors list as one of four star players to spend time on the DL. Like two of his colleagues, his time on the DL will not be brief.
Halladay may not be the same pitcher he was two years ago, but he can still be dominant. The thing about Halladay is to recognize when something better finally comes along. You could have debated that Cliff Lee was the best pitcher on the staff last season despite Halladay’s monstrous numbers. This year, it’s no contest, and that’s just on his own roster, let alone the entire league.
For what it’s worth, remember that this is not season or career threatening. Halladay is likely to return in late-July. He is after all subject to the wear-and-tear that comes with playing professional sports.
But now, he is not able to help his team win for the moment. And it may be coming in the season where they need the good doctor the most.