ESPN's Tim Kurkjian doesn't think we'll ever see the great Halladay again
4/10/2013 12:00:00 PM
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian joined Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes on March 27 and told the guys that like all great aging pitchers Roy Halladay would find a way to reinvent himself.
After an 0-2 start with a 14.73 ERA and 2.46 WHIP in 7.1 innings pitched, Kurkjian joined the show again and changed his tune somewhat.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see the great Roy Halladay again for long stretches of time. The thought that he’s going to win 22 games and be in the Cy Young race, sorry I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s the 2,600 innings. Maybe he’s hurt although he says he is healthy. Rick Sutcliffe said on our air several times the other night that he’s just not right.
“There’s no exact thing that’s wrong with him but when a pitcher like Sutcliffe says there is no late life on his pitches anymore that’s even more than a velocity issue. When you have no late movement on your pitches, especially when you’re Roy Halladay, that’s a bad thing.”
Kurkjian studied Halladay closely on Monday night and he was less than enthused by Doc’s body language on the hill.
“I was 100 feet away from him and I watched every pitch and I looked at his face on every pitch and he grimaced. He was frustrated and he was agitated and it was clear that he wasn’t throwing the ball the way that he can. After the game he must have said it a fifty times, ‘I’m forcing the ball up there instead of just throwing it’ and maybe it’s because something is preventing him from being free, easy and letting it go.”
Halladay said after his last start that his problems are 95 percent mental but observers around the league don’t seem to agree with his self-analysis.
“Scouts who have seen him that I have talked to have said that he’s not using his lower half the way that he used to. Rick Sutcliffe said that he’s not exploding off of the rubber towards the plate and that’s just a physical issue.”
Whether it’s physical or mental or a combination of both, Halladay has been one of the premier pitchers of this generation and his understanding of how to pitch is unrivaled. Kurkjian offered some hope for Phillies fans before dealing out a healthy dose of reality.
“I’m not going to believe that he has forgotten how to locate the ball or how to pitch or how to sequence his pitches. Nobody knows that better than him. I think he was looking at it like, ‘Oh my goodness I’m at 89 now and that’s not the same as being at 93 consistently and without that late life I gotta figure something else out here’ that may be the mental part of it.
“But you’re right, if he’s a third starter for the Phillies and wins 14 games he’s one of the better third starters in the league. The problem is that everyone in Philly knows including you and including me from a distance, he needs to win 20 games and so does Cole Hamels and so does Cliff Lee if they’re gonna win the division.
“He has to be great for them to have a chance and I think that’s going to be a pretty tall order.”