Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Roy Halladay is facing his greatest oppostion; old age

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor

Old age often can be a depressing affair, forcing even the greatest of athletes into the unenviable task of reinventing one's self in the hope of rekindling past success.

Following Monday's 7-2 loss to the New York Mets, Roy Halladay appears to be baseball's latest superstar in search of a new identity.

"I think what you're watching is you're watching a pitcher who is trying to find his strike zone and how he used to carve hitters up with his command and control," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He could locate and put the ball where he wanted it to go. I think that's his biggest problem."

Halladay labored through four-plus innings, allowed six hits, walked three, struck out three, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and surrendered seven earned runs. He threw 99 pitches and notched strike one on just 11 of the 22 batters he faced.

The future Hall of Famer is sporting an 0-2 mark with a 14.73 ERA after two starts.

"I'm concerned. He says he's healthy, our doctors say he's healthy and I think he'll get better," Manuel said. "I'm hoping he'll get better, of course."

After a smooth first inning Monday night, Halladay served up a three-run blast to John Buck and from there the wheels fell off.

For the first time in his 16-year career, Halladay has surrendered five or more runs while pitching four or fewer innings in back-to-back starts.

"I would say 95 percent is mental," he said. "It's simplifying. It's getting to the basics. It's letting things happen and not trying to force things. It's a game of failure. I've had my fair share. Some days you're a horse and some days you're a horse's [butt]. I've been a horse's [butt] for a little while. It's something I've dealt with a lot in the past and can overcome it. The more you want it, the harder it is."

Like so many of baseball's past greats, Halladay's biggest opposition may have finally arrived; old age.

"He's giving you everything he's got," Manuel said. "When you see somebody who works as hard as he does and gives you everything he's got, that's kind of tough to watch because I pull for him and I want him to do real good all the time."

- Patrick Gordon is the Managing Editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Follow him on Twitter @Philabaseball or contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com.  

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