Roy Halladay: Gutting It Out

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Roy Halladay: Gutting It Out
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I don't know a lot, or really anything about cars, so I rarely if ever give my input regarding them. I don't follow basketball and probably couldn't name the "star" player on every team in the league, so I won't stick my nose into a discussion about basketball. Football, ditto. European soccer, same thing. When someone with a background in politics raises a point regarding politics, I typically concede to that person, assuming they know what they are talking about.

Why then, can't radio personalities do the same?

(Maybe the greater question is why I continue to go to the sources I do for entertainment).

I have, in my short time of writing, made mistakes, lots to be certain. I even mistakenly called right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz a lefty, and at the time, that was much of the reason I liked him as a prospect. I even started a second, yet short-lived blog about my favorite OHLer, Andrew Shaw, because I felt as though he deserved to be drafted—didn't happen.

On the radio this afternoon I heard Jim Rome (guh!) give a monologue about how Roy "Doc" Halladay had one of the gutsiest performances in recently history. Rome even asserted that this performance may have overshadowed the performance of Curt Schilling a couple years back. Rome attempted to make it out as if Halladay's performance was the fuel to ignite the fire that was the Phillies win. You can bet that if the Phillies take this series, Rome will talk about how Halladay went out there on "one leg."

Here's the scoop if you missed out on it.

Halladay claimed to have pulled his groin sometime in the second inning. And according to Rotoworld, "might explain why his stuff looked so shaky throughout the night."

Of course, his second inning groin pull had to do with how poorly he pitched in the first inning. It was entirely owed to the fact that Giants hitters were hammering the ball all night!

I'm sorry, maybe I'm beginning to sound like a Doc hater, but this is going too far! The guy is a fantastic pitcher who has had a memorable season and is probably destined for the Hall of Fame. It's tough to say negative things about him.

However, this wasn't a gutsy performance. What we saw was a pitcher who simply didn't have his best stuff and happened to pull his groin after 30 or so pitches.

Pitches...Pitcher...Throwing pitches. Wait, this gives me an idea.

Tom Verducci has the "rule of 30," where he asserts a pitcher under the age of 25 who increases his workload by more than 30 is vulnerable to injury. Entering last night's ball game, Halladay had tossed 266.1 innings during the 2010 season (including the All-Star Game and postseason). This falls just 3.2 innings short of eclipsing the magic 30. Maybe we have something here?

We also see that Halladay has thrown 150 more pitches during 2010 than he did during his career-high season in 2003. The following year resulted in Halladay missing a significant amount of time.

I'm not saying this is an open-and-shut case, but could throwing a career high in innings and pitches result in Halladay running out of gas? If he were 25, almost everyone would be convinced this is true, so why not for a 33-year-old? A 33-year-old who year after year has been among the league leaders in pitches thrown and innings pitched.

Baseball Prospectus has a stat called "Pitcher Abuse Points." It hasn't been used to link many injuries recently, and I'll be the first to admit the premise isn't ironclad. In fact, this stat was created over a decade ago and not much work has been done to further it. Even BP's ex-injury expert Will Carrol wasn't found utilizing this stat.

In any event, PAP is created using the following formula, as per BP:

These points are cumulative: a 115-pitch outing gets you 20 PAP's—one for each pitch from 101-110 (10 total), and two for each pitch from 111-115 (10 total). A 120-pitch outing is worth 30 PAP's, while a 140-pitch outing is worth 100 PAP's—more than three times as much. This seems fair; a pitcher doesn't get tired all at once, but fatigue sets on gradually, and with each pitch the danger of continuing to pitch grows.

Further, BP breaks the pitch tallies into a chart as follows:

Pitcher Abuse Points
Situation PAP/Pitch
Pitches 1-100 0
Pitches 101-110 1
Pitches 111-120 2
Pitches 121-130 3
Pitches 131-140 4
Pitches 141-150 5
Pitches 151+ 6


This is all a lead up to stating that Roy Halladay has finished in the top five in PAP for the last five seasons, possibly pointing to a breakdown in the pitcher. Maybe pitching into October has caused the otherwise indestructible Halladay to fall apart?

I need to again state that this isn't me hating on Roy Halladay. Two years ago I fought tooth and nail to convince the writers at Baseball Daily Digest to use some critical thinking in making their selections.

What I am doing here is proposing the idea that Halladay's "gutting it out" was possibly due to him being worn down due to overuse, something he displayed in the first inning. His "gutting it out" was not due to pulling his groin in the second inning, as his performance did not tail off after that point—he was arguably a better pitcher after the second inning.

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