Roy Halladay Pitches Batting Practice

David Banks

Can the Phillies afford to keep running the former ace out there?

The Indians teed off on Roy Halladay and the Phillies, erupting for 14 total runs—eight of which were charged to Halladay. Much of that scoring was tied to the seven homers the Indians mashed, three of which came from the struggling former ace of the Phillies. The seven homers are interesting, if not exactly historic. It’s now happened 78 times in baseball history—most recently by the Orioles last September.

More relevant, however, is what this game says about Halladay. He couldn’t escape the fourth inning tonight, and allowed 11 baserunners. He can’t even blame Delmon Young’s defense for that, as Delmon DHed in his return. This is Halladay’s third disastrous start in six turns, and he’s allowed eight homers in 31.2 innings. These are the most homers he’s allowed in a game since May of 2011 and his average fastball velocity is down under 90 MPH. I want to be encouraged by his three strong starts that immediately preceded this, but one of those was against the Triple-A squad the Marlins are running out there, and it’s not like the Pirates are any great shakes offensively.

At some point very soon, it’s going to be fair to wonder if the Phillies can afford to keep going to him. Not only is he pitching his way out of a job, but every out he stays in for brings him closer to the 225 innings that makes his $20,000,000 option for 2014 vest (as @LOLPhillies points out on Twitter, I misinterpreted Halladay's option. He needs both 225 IP this year and 415 total in 2012 and 2013, so that's not happening unless he throws 260 innings this year.) Given the way things are going for the Phillies competitively and financially, that’s a commitment they can’t afford.

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