Monday night, Roy Halladay started for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The matchup was obviously in Philadelphia's favor, as the Cubs countered with Rodrigo Lopez, but Halladay wasn't his normal self. He surrendered one run in the first and two runs in the third, and then in the fifth, after allowing a leadoff single to Starlin Castro, Halladay began an at-bat against Aramis Ramirez he couldn't finish. Doubled over and gasping for air, Halladay was visited for a short while on the mound and then removed from the game.
Halladay's removal snapped a streak of 63 consecutive road starts lasting at least six innings. It was the first time he'd failed to go at least five innings since June 12, 2009, when he got hurt. It was the second time he'd failed to go at least five innings since June 5, 2007. Halladay has an established track record of very consistently being one thing, and Monday night, he was another thing.
Why was Halladay pulled? Simple: the heat. The official game-time temperature in Chicago was 91 degrees, and the heat index reportedly approached 105. It was hot, humid and miserable, and Halladay labored from the beginning. He didn't have his best stuff, and sweat soaked through his clothes to the point at which he ditched his three-quarters undershirt. With Halladay dizzy and lightheaded, Charlie Manuel finally decided to yank his starter in the fifth before things got any worse.
What was the popular response to Halladay's abbreviated outing? Rotoworld captures the sentiment:
So he's human after all.
Human. Mortal. That's what people chose to go with. On account of his consistency, durability and effectiveness, Halladay's long been considered less of a human and more of a machine, so his effort on Monday was taken as evidence that he actually bleeds just like the rest of us. Heat! That's a human vulnerability!
There's only one problem with this conclusion. Halladay wasn't the only player involved in Monday's game. Let's look at how some of the others held up, shall we?
All of the definite humans remained in the game. Halladay had to be removed. He didn't blend in. He didn't act the way the others acted. He stood out. He was different. What many have suggested is evidence that Halladay might be normal is in fact just the opposite.
Heat can be a human vulnerability, but it can be a mechanical vulnerability, too, and given that all the other players hung in while Halladay came out, I think the only proper conclusion we can reach here is that Halladay is a temperature-sensitive robot whose systems malfunctioned.
Human. Please. This is the most convincing evidence yet that Roy Halladay is something else entirely.