When a Philadelphia Phillies fan hears "Roy Halladay" and "the Marlins" in the same sentence, chills likely protrude down that fan's spine. Halladay's perfect game against the then-Florida Marlins on May 29th, 2010 in south Florida was the pinnacle of his prestigious career. That unstoppable pitching machine of yesteryear no longer exists, as Halladay has lately proven himself to be an average pitcher at best. Case in point: Halladay was shelled by the now-Miami Marlins earlier this season – a team similar to the one which he was perfect against – on his final start before being placed on the disabled list for shoulder surgery in early May. That may have been one of the low points of his career.
Halladay faced the NL East rival Miami Marlins tonight, and was probably right in the middle of the spectrum, with May 5th's 2 and 1/3-inning, 9 run outing on one end, and his May 29th, 2010 performance for the ages on the other. Halladay did pick up the win, a 6-4 decision for the Phillies, holding Miami to 4 hits and one run over 6 innings. However, Doc walked more than he struck out, issuing 3 free passes to go with 2 strikeouts, which is quickly becoming normal for one of this generation's pitching legends.
The Phillies tagged Marlins starter Brian Flynn for 6 runs and 11 hits over 6 innings. The offense, which is fresh off of a stellar 12-run performance last night – albeit against the same NL-worst Marlins team – stayed relatively hot tonight. Chase Utley, who is swinging a torrid bat right now, drove in 4 runs in a 3-hit effort. For the second straight night, Utley crushed a three-run home run, bringing him to a total of 18 long balls on the year. Carlos Ruiz added a 2-run single in the third to give the Phillies all the offense they would need. In addition to Utley, Jimmy Rollins also had a three-hit night, while Cesar Hernandez and Darin Ruf each picked up 2 hits.
Halladay's only run allowed came on a fifth inning RBI single by Marlins first baseman Ed Lucas. Phillies reliever B.J. Rosenberg ran into some trouble in the eighth inning tonight, allowing a Justin Ruggiano RBI double along with an Adeiny Hechavarria RBI single. But Jonathan Papelbon came in for the ninth inning to close down the Marlins and pick up his 28th save of the season, although he would allow a run. The Phillies move to 71-80 on the year, while the Marlins fall to 55-96.
While Halladay evened his record tonight at 4-4 with the win, it wasn't exactly impressive by most standards. Halladay has issued a multitude of free passes since his return in August, and has had issues with control and velocity. The plot will thicken further in the upcoming offseason, as the Phillies will have to make a decision whether or not to keep the aging legend on their roster.
For now, Halladay is set to make what will probably be his second to last start of the season next Monday as the Phillies will face the Marlins again next week in Miami. Meanwhile, the Phillies have 11 games left in the season, and will face the Marlins in the last game of the series tomorrow, as Nathan Eovaldi squares off against Kyle Kendrick at 7:05.
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