Baseball Magazine

The One Flaw of Roy Halladay

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
The one flaw of Roy HalladayRoy Halladay had one flaw this season.  For some reason the first inning and more specifically the first batter in the first inning was a problem for him.  In his 34 starts in 2011, the first batter he faced reached base 17 times.  That's 50%!  In most cases, Halladay responded with his usual toughness and bared down to make sure it didn't hurt him too much.  No harm, no foul.
But as mom's across the country have said for decades ... "Keep playing with fire and you're going to get burned."
A while back I did a two part post about the importance of pitchers warming up properly prior to games.  I mentioned that a pitcher cannot afford to be at less than full strength when they walk onto the mound for the first time.  To read those posts, click HERE for Part 1 and HERE for Part 2. 
In the last game of the Phillies' season, Roy Halladay gave up another hit to the leadoff man.  This time it was Rafael Furcal.  It was a fat pitch out over the plate that ended up as a triple.  The next batter followed with a RBI double of his own on another mistake up and out over the plate.  The Cardinals led 1-0 after the first 10 minutes of the game.  That, of course, was the final score.  Two mistakes to the first two batters and the game was essentially over.

The one flaw of Roy Halladay

Rafael Furcal slides safely into third to start the game.

It's a tough lesson to learn for any pitcher.  Mistakes you make in the first few pitches can cost you the game.  Of course, Roy Halladay knows this.  His preparation between starts and just prior to starts is about as precise and thorough as can be.  But clearly something happens from the time he warms up to the time he walks out onto the field for inning #1.  
Unfortunately, he'll spend the whole rest of October and the off-season thinking about what that "something" was. 
If you are a pitcher, learn from this.  Prepare yourself well before your starts.  Create a routine that prepares you both physically and mentally to be at your best right from the first pitch of the game.  Keep making adjustments until you find what works for you.  Doing so will help avoid a pattern of poor first innings.  You'll still run into a bad first inning every now and then.  That's just the nature of pitching.  You just have to hope that it doesn't end your season.

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