Phillies Must Be Careful, Not Panicky, With Halladay

Written By Bob Cunningham On Friday, May 21, 2010

Halladay's pitch count will be discussed all season.

There is a lot being made about Roy Halladay's high pitch-count over his past few starts. Over the last four starts he's made he hasn't thrown any less than 118 pitches and is averaging 123 with his latest 132-pitch outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates this past Tuesday.

However, is that really so bad for a guy who has an MLB-high 53 complete games over the past eight seasons?

It's a lot of pitches, but Halladay has shown it's a work-load he can handle. And with the bullpen once again a complete mess, the Phils are going to need him to throw between 115-125 pitches every time he steps on the mound.

In fact, Antonio Bastardo did a great job of showing exactly why the Phils need to bleed everything out of Halladay they can get after he gave up a game-tying home-run in the eighth against the Cubs on Thursday.

But, as Charlie Manuel acknowledged to the press recently, throwing so many pitches every outing could wear him down throughout the course of the season. And if last year's playoff run was any indication, the Phils are going to need a lot out of Halladay when it matters most in October.

Manuel said he "doesn't want to see (Halladay) throw 125 pitches," so it's unlikely Halladay will be afforded the opportunity to get his 54th complete game anytime soon.

As usual, Manuel is handling this the right way. He's going to monitor Halladay, but not trying to take him out immediately once the pitch-count hits triple digits. If Manuel and the Phils start getting paranoid and pulling him early, however, it's going to create more problems than it solves.

The Phils have a comfortable lead in the division right now, but ask the Mets how much that means 157 games in, much less in the middle of May.

Pulling Halladay early could mean a lot of blown games for the bullpen which could, in turn, mean the Phillies are in a tighter race than they would like come playoff time.

Manuel needs to let Halladay do his thing and not throw off the hot-streak he's on or he'll risk throwing him off for the season. Then, come the end of the season when the Phils have the East wrapped up, they can limit him to a little over 100 pitches and save his arm for the playoffs.

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