Going into Saturday's game against the Colorado Rockies, the Phillies were a major-league-worst 12-27 during Halladay's extended stint on the disabled list.
Halladay, 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA, made a minor-league rehab appearance Monday for single-A Clearwater and pitched three innings.
"All right, fine," is how Dubee described that outing. "There is rustiness and inconsistency there, but arm-wise and working-wise, he's feeling a lot better than he has in a long time."
And that's enough to convince Dubee that the best shot for the Phillies to win Tuesday is by sending Halladay to the mound.
Although Halladay's return will be a welcome sight for the struggling Phillies, it's probably unrealistic to expect him to return immediately to Cy Young form. The fact that he is on a pitch limit means the bullpen is going to be needed, and when Halladay is in top form there's always a possibility for a complete game.
Halladay has been encouraged throughout his rehab about how his arm has felt, and Dubee feels the same way.
"There is much better ease at . . . throwing away to a righty and in to a lefty, which was generally the toughest for him to throw," Dubee said.
Halladay's return will force another roster move and send Kyle Kendrick back to the bullpen. Kendrick pitched 11/3 scoreless innings in Friday's loss to the Rockies.
Sending one of the relievers to triple-A Lehigh Valley should not be considered a difficult move because the Phillies have been running pitchers up and down the Northeast Extension all season.
Dubee, however, was asked if the struggling Antonio Bastardo might benefit from some time in triple A. The pitching coach said that scenario has not been discussed, even though Bastardo went 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 appearances before the all-star break and is 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA since last September.
"He threw a bullpen [Friday]," Dubee said. "We're trying to iron things out and keep pitching."
Sagging confidence and a lack of consistency are the two biggest reasons for Bastardo's fall since last August.
"He's never been a consistent strike thrower," Dubee said. "If you look at his strike-to-ball percentage over the years, it's 50-50 or so. I think over time people start to understand that, and he's got to throw more strikes and more quality strikes."
Bastardo's confidence appeared to be at an all-time low after he surrendered a grand slam to Atlanta's Brian McCann in his final appearance before the break, but Dubee believes the confidence problem dates back much further.
"I don't think he's had good confidence since September," Dubee said. "He hasn't started innings the same way where he came out throwing 92, 94. Now, he's 90, 91 and hoping he can find his way through it. He has to start to be more aggressive, more committed."
Manager Charlie Manuel said that at some point he plans to play Ryan Howard and Chase Utley more than two days in a row, but neither was expected to start against lefthander Drew Pomeranz on Sunday. . . . Shane Victorino's first-inning double Saturday was his first extra-base hit since June 13.