Since the 2000 season, Roy Halladay has been the biggest control freak in the majors, issuing a league-low 404 unintentional walks among pitchers who logged at least 2,000 innings. That was before Saturday night, when the Philadelphia Phillies ace lost his command like he never had before.
In the second inning against the San Diego Padres, Halladay walked three batters in a row for the first time in his career, which spanned 10,447 batters coming in. All of those batters, all of those pitches, and not once had three guys in a row reached via the base on balls.
Halladay came in having walked four batters on the season in 23 innings, and only seven times in his career had he walked as many as three men in one inning, most recently in 2004. But never had three in a row reached on walks until Yonder Alonso, Cameron Maybin and Jason Bartlett did on a total of 19 pitches, reporter Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
The Padres managed to push across one run in the inning and they won the game 5-1 as Halladay allowed two runs over seven. Philly pitchers need to be much closer to perfect these days with such an anemic offense, manager Charlie Manuel said:
"He's human," Manuel said. "Stuff like that is going to happen. He pitched good enough to win a game. He can't throw shutouts all the time and he's not going to."
Human. Not likely. Few humans can control a strike zone like that. (And no human beard hairs are so perfect.)
With a 4-12 won-loss record, the Padres might seem to be an unlikely team to practice patience, but they came in having drawn 61 walks — second-most in the majors. Their selectivity helped them get to Halladay, who's seldom a walk in the park to face.
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