That collective gasp of terror you may have heard from the mid-Atlantic came from Philadelphia, when Roy Halladay left Sunday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals after two innings with right shoulder soreness.
Oh, the horror!
Update: By Alex Ballentine Saturday, July 14 at 9:20 p.m. ET
The Phillies desperately need a boost from Halladay as the club finds themselves at the bottom of the National League East with a record of 37-51.
--End of Update--
Update: Tuesday, July 10 at 2:35 p.m. ET
Take heart, Phillies fans: Roy Halladay is on his way back. From the official Twitter account of the Phillies:
RHP Roy Halladay will begin a rehab assignment at single A Clearwater on Thursday, July 12.— Phillies (@philaphillies) July 10, 2012
The team could certainly use its ace back. The squad is 37-50, and limped into the All-Star break after losing 11 of 12 games. The sooner Halladay can join the team, the sooner the Phillies can launch one last-ditch effort to turn this season around and compete for a postseason spot.
As unlikely as that now seems.
__________END OF UPDATE__________
Update: Wednesday, June 6 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Well, Phillies fans will be glad to know that a second opinion on Halladay hasn't come back with a worse prognosis. From Jon Morosi of Fox Sports:
At Roy Halladay news conference, #Phillies announce second opinion confirms original diagnosis. Can begin throwing after 3 weeks.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 6, 2012
He'll still be out for six to eight weeks, but at least the news isn't worse in Philadelphia.
Halladay says despite fact vesting option won't vest for 2014 based on innings, he wants to finish his career in Philly.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 6, 2012
Update: Tuesday, May 29 at 4:30 p.m. ET
While not exactly the worst-case scenario for the Phillies, Halladay's shoulder injury is going to keep him off the mound for at least six to eight weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
#Phillies: Halladay will be shut down for 3 weeks with strained lat (shoulder). Out 6 to 8 weeks.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 29, 2012
If Phillies fans weren't worried about this season before, they should be now. This team is so dependent on the trio of Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee that missing one of them for a long stretch is going to be devastating.
Halladay has been incredibly durable throughout his career, so he probably would have been the last pitcher on the staff you would have predicted an injury for. It's just been that kind of year for Philadelphia.
Update: Monday, May 28 at 11:40 p.m. ET
The Memorial Day holiday is going to cause Phillies fans to panic about Roy Halladay's shoulder a little while longer.
According to Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Halladay will have his right shoulder examined on Tuesday:
A Phillies team official said that Roy Halladay will have his injured shoulder examined tomorrow, but the details are still being worked out.
The "details" are, according to Narducci, whether to have Halladay examined in Philadelphia or New York, where the Phillies open a three-game series with the Mets on Monday.
Everyone in Philadelphia knows that the pitching staff has to carry the Phillies this season, so if Halladay is forced to miss any time at all, it could be disastrous for this franchise that had high hopes coming into the year.
Update: Sunday, May 27 at 8:56 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
Philadelphia's pitching coach, Rich Dubee, isn't very optimistic about Halladay's shoulder and admitted that Halladay has had some issues for a while (via csnphilly.com):
“I know he's had a cranky shoulder,” Dubee said. “He hasn't looked right, and he didn't look right today. I knew he wasn't going to come out of the game. I basically said that was enough.”
Dubee revealed that Halladay has had the cranky shoulder for longer than the pitcher admitted.
“Yeah, it's been an issue,” Dubee said. “It's been there. It's been lingering. Some days it's better than others. Chicago [May 17] was better than others. Even the start of last game it was better and then got it cranky. Today, warming up, he felt fine, but as he got into the game and sat down and even before the first inning, it was just hard to get it going again.”
At this point, it seems he was removed for merely precautionary reasons. But as Ryan Lawrence of the Delaware County Times reported on Twitter, manager Charlie Manuel remains worried:
Charlie Manuel on Roy Halladay: "Worried? Yeah, I'm definitely concerned. I'm worried." #PHILLIES— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) May 27, 2012
It remains uncertain if he'll be available for his next start, per Lawrence:
Halladay honestly doesn't know if he'll make his next start, said it'll be in the hands of doctors. Thinks hell (sic) get examined Tuesday.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) May 27, 2012
But as Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia reports, Halladay does not think the injury is too serious:
Halladay said he has soreness in back of shoulder. Developed late in last start. He does not anticipate it being serious. Will get checked— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) May 27, 2012
The Phillies cannot afford to lose Halladay, that much is for certain. The team is at 25-24, but in last place in the surprisingly strong NL East. Early-season injuries to sluggers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have made life difficult for the squad.
And while Halladay hasn't been dominant early this season—he's 4-5 with 56 strikeouts, a 3.98 ERA and 1.15 WHIP—he remains one of baseball's most consistent aces and is a true innings-eater. He makes life easier for everyone on the Phillies, namely the bullpen.
At this juncture in the season, the core of Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee has kept this team competitive, especially after Vance Worley was moved to the disabled list and Joe Blanton has faltered after a hot start.
Take Halladay away and the Phillies are in deep trouble.
So if you happen to hear a collective sigh of relief from the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, you'll know that everything is fine with Halladay—and the Phillies, for that matter.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets pack more punch than Junior dos Santos.