Last night at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association annual awards dinner, Roy Halladay picked up the Outstanding Pro Athlete Award to add to his growing collection. It’s just another piece of last season that Halladay will bring with him into 2011.
Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com both have written recently about the workload Halladay accrued last season. All told, the Phillies ace logged 272 2/3 innings in 2010, the most of his long, illustrious career. That’s a number few reach in a game teeming with set up men and short pitch counts. It’s also a number to keep an eye on.
As Salisbury asked, can Charlie Manuel continue to ride Halladay like a rented mule? Ok, it’s not that bad – Halladay is worth more than some sorry ass – but in reality, is it wise to allow Halladay to near 300 innings again this year? There isn’t a simple answer.
Do you worry about the workload weighing Halladay down this season? Fatigue was seemingly a non-issue as he stormed through the postseason, tossing a no-hitter against Cincinnati.
Or, are you confident that if Manuel lets him loose as he did in 2010, all will be equal due to his amazing work ethic and tireless offseason and in-season regiment? His winter workouts began just two weeks after the season. And to hoist that trophy, Halladay knows he’ll have to come back stronger than ever at 34 years old.
Clearly, there is even less pressure on him to log heavy innings with the addition of Cliff Lee. But even we know Doc likes to finish what he starts.
I’d like to see Manuel, pitching coach Rich Dubee, and Halladay work to limit his innings in the first month. And by limit, I mean to shave 15-20 pitches here or there in a given start. Not pull him after five – this isn’t a situation that needs to be handled with kid gloves. If a game is clearly in the bag, allow the bullpen do to what they get paid to do. Maybe give Halladay three to four starts before really kicking him into high gear.