More On Halladay
During my ride home in the 90 degree heat, I was listening to 97.5, one of the sports talk stations. The host had Jayson Stark on and they were talking about Roy Halladay. Stark is now with ESPN, but was a long-time Phillies beat writer. He’s good. He was saying that privately the Phillies are “very concerned” about Halladay regardless of what they have publicly said about him having as long as he needs to work things out.
During the conversation, Stark also mentioned that on a recent ESPN-aired game they should shots of Halladay now and a few years ago. Apparently his arm slot or angle was lower which is effectively changing his pitches for the worse. That begs the question, “why can’t he throw from a higher angle?” The host suggested that it may be his arm just can’t do that anymore. I’m not sure if that is the case, because the host is just a journalist. Stark wrote about this in a story yesterday. Here is a piece:
During the telecast of Monday’s game, ESPN showed video documenting Halladay’s arm angle lower than in the past. Amaro said the club and Halladay are conscious of that, and that he and pitching coach Rich Dubee have been working since spring training to raise Halladay’s arm slot closer to where it has been in the past.
“We’re aware of it,” the GM said. “But that doesn’t mean he can’t have success doing it (from a lower angle). It’s just varied a little bit from time to time, and I think they’re still working on it.”
Despite the lower arm angle and Halladay’s rough start, Amaro said the Phillies don’t see any evidence that Halladay is hurt.
“He hasn’t been on one report from our trainer,” Amaro said. “We haven’t had any reason to feel we have to shut him down. Just right now, his stuff’s not there, and he hasn’t been throwing strikes. But if he throws more strikes, we think he can still have success.”
Of course, it wasn’t too long ago that Dubee was trying to say that his arm angle was higher than usual, not lower regardless of what was being said. Hmmm..
One nice angle was that Stark said he spoke to several Mets hitters after their game against Halladay. Basically they said his problem was he was not being consistent. Sometime his cutter looked good, other times not. Apparently Curt Schilling also weighed in recently about his arm angle as well and how it is affecting his curve ball. You can listen to that conversation here. Say what you want about Schilling, he is very articulate. Schilling does not believe Halladay is hurt, but needs to make changes. He did mention Sabathia and Lincecum as guys who have also lost velocity, which I didn’t think of.
Fans of Roy Halladay would not want to read this article by Ken Rosenthal, another good baseball writer. Take this quote from a scout:
“You’re a fan of this guy,” the scout said Tuesday morning. “It’s very sad to watch. He’s what we all dream of having in your organization. But from a stuff standpoint, there’s just nothing there.”
But that scout also thinks Halladay can make adjustments and do better. Here’s an important part of that article:
His issue is not so much velocity — Halladay’s sinker averaged 90.81 mph and his cutter 89.66 against the Mets, each down about only 1 mph from 2011, when he went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA, according to PitchFX data on BrooksBaseball.net and Fangraphs.com.
The difference, according to the scout I spoke with Tuesday, is that Halladay’s movement and finish no longer are the same. His pitch counts are high because he is pitching timidly, “picking” at the zone, the scout said.
Halladay’s sinker once exploded at home plate, diving out of the strike zone, and hitters would either miss it or beat it into the ground. His cutter would look like a fastball until it got to the plate, when it, too, would dart at the last instant, often breaking hitters’ bats.
All of that movement is now “flat,” the scout said.
“He’s still trying to pitch like he used to pitch and he can’t,” the scout said. “He’s opening up early (in his delivery). Hitters are seeing balls early and long, not moving at home plate but moving out of his hand. They track the hell out of it, and that’s why he’s not getting swings-and-misses, unless it’s on breaking balls in the dirt.”
Jayson Stark also said Mets batters mentioned they can pick up the spin on his curveball now, when as before they could not. It will be a interesting to see if Halladay can indeed make that adjustment. We certainly hope so.