I’m guessing he is.
Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44) faces righty Edinson Volquez (4-3, 4.31) this afternoon in game one of the NLDS. Both pitchers will be making the first post-season start of their career.
Volquez was suspended 50 games this season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He spent most of his suspension rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August of 2009.
He made his first 2010 start with the Reds in mid-July and pitched well, holding the Rockies to a run over six innings while striking out nine. He was pounded in his next two starts, not making it through four innings either time, and people started to worry. He snapped out of it, though, putting together a string of three starts in which he went 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA and allowed just three runs in 17 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks pounded him for five runs over 4 2/3 innings on August 18 and the start after that he didn’t make it out of the first inning. He got just two outs as the Giants plated five runs charged to him.
Volquez had made eight starts on the year and four of them had been pretty bad. Overall, he had thrown to a 6.17 ERA and a 1.97 ratio. Opponents were hitting .300 against him and he had walked 27 in 35 innings.
The Reds said he was going to the pen, but he didn’t make an appearance in relief. Instead, they sent him to Single-A Dayton on August 31.
Volquez made two starts for Dayton, throwing to a 1.38 ERA and striking out 19 over 13 innings, and was back to start for the Reds again on September 11. He made four starts to close out the season and all four were good. He threw to a 1.95 ERA and struck out 31 in 27 2/3 innings without allowing a home run, dropping his ERA on the year from 6.17 to 4.31.
When you look at his splits for the season, he has allowed way more hits to right-handed batters and walked lefties at an enormous rate. Lefties hit just .229 against him while righties hit .273. He walked 7.0% of the righties he faced and 18.9% (25 of 132) of the left-handed batters. Lefties on-based .377 against him despite the .229 batting average.
All those walks to lefties might be good for something, cause Volquez allowed just one home run to a left-handed batter all season long (Adam Dunn in his second start of the season) and lefties slugged just .314 against him. He faced a similar number of right and left-handed batters on the season (143 righties and 132 lefties) and allowed 11 extra-base hits, including five home runs, to righties and just six extra-base hits to lefties.
Over his career, the outrageous walk rate for lefties hasn’t been present like it has in 2010. The trend of preventing big hits from left-handed batters has, though. Lefties are slugging just .371 against him for his career compared to .414 for righties. Righties have delivered an extra-base hit against him in 7.8% of their plate appearances compared to 6.1% for lefties. The extra-base hits he has allowed to righties have also gone for more bases than the ones he has allowed to lefties — 2.80 bases per extra-base hit to righties and 2.61 for lefties.
He was way better at home than on the road in 2010. He threw to a 3.23 ERA in his seven starts at home and a 6.08 ERA on his five starts on the road. That’s not a trend that has been present over his career. For his career his numbers are similar at home and on the road.
He has odd numbers for his career before and after the All-Star break with dramatically better results in the first half of the season. 5.46 ERA in 45 appearances after the break and a 2.90 ERA in 29 appearances before the break. Opponents have hit 206/318/311 against him in the first half of the season and 285/375/450 against him in the second half of the season.
Ibanez and Rollins are the only Phillies with more than five career at-bats against Volquez. Ibanez is 3-for-9 with three singles and a walk. Rollins 1-for-7 with two strikeouts. Victorino 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Howard 1-for-5 with a single and three strikeouts. Utley 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts.
Halladay threw 250 2/3 innings in the regular season, which is the second-highest mark for his career and the most innings he has thrown in a season over the past seven years. Even with his huge workloads, Halladay has a history of pitching well at the end of the season. This year he struggled a bit down the stretch, posting a 4.32 ERA and a 1.27 ratio over six starts before throwing a complete game shutout against the Nationals in his final start.
He faced the Reds twice this season. On June 30 he allowed four runs on 13 hits over eight innings. He took a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, but Gomes led off with a single and Halladay stayed in the game to pitch to the lefty Bruce. Bruce homered, putting Cincy on top to stay at 4-3. Votto also homered against him in that game, connecting for a solo shot in the sixth inning.
If you want to worry about something for today’s game, I think that’s where you want to focus your energy. Votto and Bruce are the guys to fear the most this afternoon, and in Halladay’s start at the end of June they both went deep against him.
His other start against the Reds this year came on July 10. Things went a lot better for Halladay and the Phils that day. Halladay threw nine shutout innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out nine. The Phillies couldn’t score against Travis Wood, though, and the game went to extra-innings. The Phils won 1-0 on a walkoff single by Rollins that scored Ruiz.
Halladay was good against both lefties and righties overall this year. He was also good both at home and on the road. He excels at preventing walks, issuing just 30 for the season over 250 2/3 innings. His walk rate in 2010 was the best for his career. He walked batters at very similar rates in 2005 and 2003, but his mark this season is a tiny bit better, at least by walks per nine innings pitched. In 2010, he walked 30 batters in 250 2/3 innings (1.077 per nine innings). In 2003, when he won the AL Cy Young, he walked 32 over 266 innings (1.083 per nine). By percentage of batters faced who walked, he was a tiny bit better in 2003 (2.99% in ’03 and 3.02% in ’10).
Either way, he doesn’t walk anyone and it helps make him quite effective.
A lot of the Reds have seen him often. Votto and Bruce are both 3-for-11 against him for their career and each have a double and a home run. Orlando Cabrera is the guy who has seen him the most. Cabrera has hit 271/286/375 against him with a home run over 48 at-bats. Ramon Hernandez has gone 13-for-37 (.351) against him. Gomes 9-for-32 (.281) with three extra-base hits including a home run. Stubbs 1-for-6, Rolen 1-for-5. Phillips 4-for-14 with two doubles.
The Phils roster for the NLDS is all set. They carry 15 hitters and ten pitchers, putting Brown and Dobbs on the roster and leaving Kendrick, Herndon and Baez off.
Hitters (15): Ruiz, Schneider, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Sweeney, Gload, Francisco, Brown, Dobbs, Valdez
Pitchers (10): Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Lidge, Madson, Romero, Bastardo, Durbin, Contreras.
No final word on the roster for the Reds, yet. Here’s a guess from last night. It looks like Cincinnati will have four lefties available out of the pen. Arthur Rhodes and Aroldis Chapman are scary, Travis Wood (who didn’t appear in relief all season) and Bill Bray a little less so.
There’s still a playoffs Start Log, which you can view here.
Update: Placido Polanco is out of the lineup for game one of the NLDS with a stiff back. Valdez will play third and hit eighth. Rollins will lead off with Victorino hitting second. Dobbs on the bench with the righty Volquez on the mound.