Roy Halladay made his second rehab start last night for the Low-A Lakewood Blue Claws.
I've been told that I should probably write about what actually happened and not what I wanted to happen. In my fantasy, Halladay mixed it up, inducing ground balls and getting strikeouts. He kept his pitch count low, allowed no walks, and his velocity was back where it belonged.
Yeah, that didn't happen. If you look at some of the numbers from his outing, you can see good. He allowed one earned run (two total) and struck out four over six innings. Good, right? But there are other numbers, and they tell a different story. He threw 90 pitches over six innings, but just 52 of them were strikes. That resulted in three walks. His velocity is still low -- 87pmh average, going as high as 89mph -- and that is a concern. Matt Gelb breaks it all down in this great piece on philly.com. He doesn't pull any punches -- Gelb thought that Halladay looked just like his pre-surgery self, lacking both command and velocity. For me, the most notable thing Halladay said about his condition was this:
"It's going to increase," Halladay said. "If it didn't, I think I can pitch with the velocity I'm at right now and be effective..."
He's preparing for all eventualities. "My velocity is totally going to increase, but if it doesn't, I'm fine the way I am! This is gonna work, guys! Just plug me in I'm ready to go!" I want that to be true. I am pretty sure it's not. Halladay also said this:
"I feel like Jamie Moyer did it and he was throwing 82," Halladay said. "I definitely feel like I can do it. That's their call."
I love Jamie Moyer as much as the next guy, and actually probably a whole lot more (miss you, Jamie), but Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer are not similar pitchers. If Halladay, a power pitcher, wanted to become a soft-tossing Moyer type, I think that would involve some serious time and work. I don't doubt Halladay can do it, but it would mean recognizing that everything he used to do no longer works. There's a stubbornness about Halladay that is necessary in baseball, but at some point it stops being an asset and becomes a liability.
Halladay is happy to stick with the plan that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. laid out when he started his rehab, which was to have him make two minor league starts and then rejoin the Phillies rotation. That would have him pitching this weekend, though the consensus from many who are not Roy Halladay is that he's just not ready. I'm not ready, either. I'm not sure if I'm equipped to deal with more of this Roy Halladay. It's unbearable to watch him be unsuccessful. You can tell he really wants everything to work like it did before, and he's out there trying so hard and doing everything he's always done, but his body just won't listen to him anymore.
Not sure who's worse: The "Halladay can do anything he sets his mind to!" crowd or the "Roy is dead, RIP Roy" ghouls.— Zeus Moscow (@LOLPhillies) August 21, 2013
That tweet is from TGP's dearly departed fearless leader. (Note: he is still alive and well.) I can't bring myself to say that Halladay is done, but saying that he can do it seems pollyannaish to the point of total delusion. I'm struggling to find a midpoint. I'm guessing that Halladay will prove one side right before I'm able to find one.