Roy Halladay makes his first start of the year tonight as the Phils face lefty Paul Maholm and the Braves in game two of the season.
Halladay had a miserable spring, throwing to a 6.06 ERA overall in his six starts. He pitched to a 2.16 ERA and an 0.96 ratio in his first three spring starts, but threw eight innings with a 10.12 ERA and 2.87 ratio over his last three.
None of that would matter at all, of course, had it not been for a lackluster 2012 for Halladay. Coming off two years in which he had been just about the best pitcher on the planet, Halladay threw to a 5.28 ERA over his last 20 starts in ’12. Opponents hit .282 against him in those starts and he allowed 18 home runs in 119 1/3 innings.
There’s a pretty long list of Braves with good career numbers against Halladay. We’ve seen enough of Freddie Freeman to last the year after one day of the season, but Freeman has nine career RBI against Halladay in just 15 at-bats. 7-for-15 with three home runs. BJ Upton has 42 at-bats against Halladay for his career and a 357/417/524 line. Uggla 11-for-34 (.324) with three home runs. McCann, who’s on the DL, has a 360/407/560 line against Halladay in 25 at-bats. Heyward just 3-for-17 (.176) and Justin Upton 2-for-6 with two singles.
Maholm made 32 appearances (31 starts) between the Cubs and Braves in 2012, throwing to a 3.67 ERA with a 1.22 ratio. Righties have hit him pretty well over his career, posting a 290/351/444 compared to 224/290/321 for righties.
He’s fared pretty well against the Phillies. Rollins is 5-for-22 (.227) with a double against him. Howard 5-for-21 (.238) with a double. Utley has fared a little better, going 6-for-18 with three doubles and a home run.
The Phillies put Edgar Inciarte on waivers and claimed 25-year-old left-handed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers from Cleveland. The speedy Carrera has a career 255/306/347 line in 384 major league plate appearances and a .299 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching. If there’s data that suggest he’s an unusually good defensive player, I’m not sure where it is.
Counting the 2011 playoffs, the Phillies are 87-93 over their last 180 games. Ezequiel Carrera is an upgrade over Ender Inciarte, so that’s a good thing. The problem is that the Phillies don’t need a tiny upgrade over a player that never should have been on their roster in the first place. They need better players. They need the argument about who the third-best outfielder on their team is not to include John Mayberry and Laynce Nix. They need a major upgrade and it’s going to surprise me if it comes from picking up guys waived by the Indians.