Phillies fans were "treated" to an unsettling and uncommon sight last night: Roy Halladay sucking for wind and exhausted by the third inning. It wasn't pretty.
Halladay labored mightily in the stifling heat and humidity of Chicago last night, throwing 31 pitches in the third inning, taking two breaks behind the mound to try and recover, changing his drenched uniform top in the dugout between innings, looking beet-red with obvious dehydration symptoms, and finally departing the game in the fifth inning, approximately two innings after it was clear to everyone but his manager and pitching coach he was done for the night.
Frankly, as the camera studied an exhausted and stressed Halladay on the bench between the third and fourth innings, I worried for his health. The team's trainer sat beside him but apparently never went to Manuel and said Halladay had to come out of the game right now!!
The Phils lost the game 6-1. Halladay's counterpart, journeyman Rodrigo Lopez, looked cool as a cucumber in frustrating the always impatient Phillies hitters. It it was never more clear than last night this team collectively takes a poor approach to the plate. As Gary Matthews pointed out, the Cubs were literally wearing Halladay out fouling off pitches and taking others while the Phils went up to the dish hacking as usual. Sure, the Phils could use bullpen help, but they clearly need another bat, right-handed and intelligent!!
As distressing as it was to see the always fit and durable Halladay literally wilting before our eyes, the other ominous sign of the night was the second straight poor outing by a Philadelphia ace. With Cole Hamels' pummeling in New York on Saturday, this makes two straight appearances by Aces that have been disastrous. Cliff Lee gets the ball tonight with the hope he can break this mini-string. Who'd have thought the best two games pitched by a Phillie starter since the All Star break would be by Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick???!!!