Philadelphia Phillies: What Would Return to Ace Form by Roy Halladay Give Phils?

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Philadelphia Phillies: What Would Return to Ace Form by Roy Halladay Give Phils?
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More questions than answers surround Roy Halladay now.

During Roy Halladay's time in Philadelphia, as he has gone so has his club.

Halladay joined the Phillies in 2010. He won 21 games, with nine complete games and four shutouts. He threw 250.2 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 7.3.

All of these numbers led the National League, and Halladay won the 2010 National League Cy Young Award. In a related story, the Phillies won 97 games that year.

And there was that little matter of the no-hitter he threw at the Cincinnati Reds in their 2010 National League Division Series.

Sure, the San Francisco Giants touched him up some (most notably Cody Ross) in the National League Championship Series. But the entire Phillies team had to answer for that series loss.

A year later, Halladay was again very special. Nineteen wins, eight complete games and 233.2 more strong innings. His team won a franchise-record 102 games.

And while he took the loss in Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, he went eight innings in that game and gave up one run. Again, his team lost, but he could hardly be blamed.

Even after earning $15.7 million in 2010 and $20 million in 2011, Halladay outperformed his contract in both of those seasons.

2012, of course, was another matter entirely.

Halladay came crashing down to earth last season.

Fresh off that 2010 National League Cy Young Award and finishing runner-up in that voting the next season, Doc posted this line: 11-8, 4.49 ERA, a half-dozen starts missed and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.67, his worst since 2007.

Not surprisingly, with their most-accomplished pitcher struggling so mightily, the Phillies won as many as they lost in 2012.

The simplest answer to the question of what a return to form by Halladay would mean for the Phillies is expressed in one word: everything.

If Halladay can muster one more season where he makes (and goes deep into) most of his starts, the Phillies' plan of having three legitimate stoppers at the top of the rotation as they did in 2011 can be deployed again to devastating effect.

How important is Halladay to the 2013 Phillies? When he got cuffed around by the Detroit Tigers this week, it made not just local but also national news.

Only Halladay knows if his reduced velocity this spring is truly a case of him needing to build arm strength or, sadly, arm speed forever lost.

But the Phillies' records with Halladay at the top of the rotation have followed pretty closely with his successes and failures.

There is no compelling reason to believe 2013 will be any different.

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