Roy Halladay's Nightmare at Turner Field: What's Up Doc?

Peter ChenContributor IIIMay 2, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 2: Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam home run against Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Turner Field on May 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

As if the Philadelphia Phillies don't have enough issues, now their ace, Roy Halladay, is starting to show signs of actually being mortal like the rest of us.

Halladay, whose 3-2 start to 2012 has seen more walks and fewer Ks than usual, got touched for 12 hits and eight earned runs in less than six innings at Turner Field on Wednesday evening.

Doc had been staked to a 6-0 lead by the Phils, but a disastrous six-hit bottom of the fifth undid that lead, capped by a grand slam from Brian McCann. To be sure, the other Braves hits were all singles, including an infield chopper, but Halladay's location seemed lacking.

Halladay, perspiring profusely in the 80-degree evening temperatures, returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth, only to surrender three more hits, including a two-run single by Jason Heyward.

Luckily for Halladay, he escaped an L, as the Phils rallied to retake the lead (only to lose 15-13 in 11 innings). 

Halladay's Atlanta outing could be an aberration, or something more ominous. Everyone took notice when, late last month, he walked three straight (Padres) batters for the first time in his career.

So, just what is going on here? Is he nursing an undisclosed injury? Is he losing a bit of velocity as he approaches his 35th birthday this month? A loss of even two to three mph off the fastball can be quite enticing to the professional hitters in the MLB.

Or, are his past few starts just an uncharacteristic blip in what will turn out to be another dominating season by one of the best pitchers MLB has seen in the past decade?

His next start will be at home against the Mets next week.