The final curtain may be coming down on Roy Halladay's once-dazzling run as a starting pitcher in Philadelphia.
Whether the show can reopen in another city some other day is, well, some other day's question.
The here and now is pretty awful. When the Triple-A All-Star team that goes by the name of the Miami Marlins hits you with more earned runs (nine) than you get outs (seven), something is clearly wrong.
Halladay's earned run average stands at 8.65. He is probably going to land on the disabled list (per ESPN.com) with what has loosely been described as "shoulder soreness" but might more accurately be called "he lost it."
Whether Dr. Lewis Yocum declares Halladay fit for duty or not is beside the point now.
Halladay has taken the ball seven times this season. Four of those times, his team has been irretrievably behind by the fourth inning.
What the Phillies are paying Halladay to pitch this season (an even $20 million) is no longer important, either.
Halladay's results would be unacceptable from a pitcher earning the league minimum. Halladay's price tag does not make resigning the Phillies to more lopsided losses any more justifiable.
In a perverse way, placing Halladay on the disabled list—maybe even finding out he cannot pitch at all—will be a sort of relief.
Consider all the agita the Phillies and their fans have been exposed to by Halladay just in 2013:
- Spring training was consumed by "is he or isn't he healthy" stories amid bad outings.
- After two outings, with his ERA over 14, the alarm bells were piercing.
- In search of an explanation (scapegoat?) career backup catcher Erik Kratz saw his name dragged down for Halladay's sins, like it was his fault Halladay had lost velocity and couldn't locate any more.
- Just this week, Halladay felt compelled to defend his pitching coach, Rich Dubee, from criticism from noted mechanics expert Mitch Williams. Talk about a low point.
- Now this, an early Mother's Day massacre at Citizens Bank Park where half the 45,276 announced were wandering to the parking lot like mugging victims by the sixth inning.
- Followed by the coup de grace: Halladay's concession that he has been pitching hurt for two weeks.
Ugly, irresponsible things leak out of situations like Halladay's unraveling, including but not limited to radio talk show hosts questioning Halladay's integrity:
You didn't ask me, but in my opinion there is no chance that Halladay is saying he is injured to excuse his inability to do his job, or to engender sympathy.
The Phillies have had more than their share of high-priced talent who signed the contract and then jaked it at every opportunity. Lance Parrish, Gregg Jefferies, Travis Lee, Kevin Millwood: Phillies fans have had their share of mutts. Roy Halladay is not a mutt.
But neither Halladay's valor nor his standing among the game's active greats is doing anything for him when Adeiny Hechavarria is halfway to the cycle with seven runs batted in off Halladay in the third inning.
Halladay's quick spiral into uselessness is putting everyone around him in difficult spots, per CSNPhilly.com's John Gonzalez.
Charlie Manuel: “I have a hard time watching him struggle."
“Until we do any diagnostic work, we won’t know exactly what’s going on with him," Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But, clearly, it doesn’t seem like he’s healthy. It’s pretty apparent with his performance, unfortunately.”
Everything ends badly, or it would not end.
For Roy Halladay and the Phillies, their time together appears to be ending far more rapidly and sadly than either party could ever have imagined.