Phillies Notes: Roy Halladay relying more on sinker

Roy Halladay throws against the Cardinals during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 19, 2013. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Roy Halladay throws against the Cardinals during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 19, 2013. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer) (Steven M. Falk)
Posted: April 22, 2013

After he threw 109 pitches Friday, Roy Halladay declared it "was about as close as I've felt to where I want to be." Halladay has made four starts in 2013 and the evolution has been constant. That was more than evident in Halladay's pitch selection.

He relied on his sinker more than ever while with the Phillies. Against St. Louis, Halladay threw his sinker 50 times, according to Pitch F/X data. Research by ESPN Stats & Info showed it was the most frequently Halladay has used his sinker in a game since the beginning of 2009.

"He's getting back to throwing it more," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.

Halladay admitted uneasiness when throwing the sinker during his first start in Atlanta. He used it on 15 percent of his pitches that night. Instead of challenging hitters, he retreated to a steady diet of off-speed pitches.

Earlier in his career, Halladay was a sinkerball pitcher. The cutter became his primary pitch in recent years. Dubee believes the sinker is a more consistent pitch right now for Halladay. With a lower arm slot and changed mechanics, mastering the cutter is tougher.

If he can command the sinker to both sides of the plate, Halladay could operate with that pitch as his backbone. He allowed two runs, both solo home runs, in seven innings.

Cardinals infielder Ty Wigginton, a former teammate of Halladay's in Philadelphia and longtime opponent in the American League East, saw a different Halladay on Friday. The results were the same.

"He was constantly down and in on righties," Wigginton said. "Always a borderline ball-strike call."

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny thought his players failed to capitalize vs. a hittable Halladay.

"I saw a guy who didn't have his best stuff but competes his way into being very good," Matheny said. "The longer he went out there, he got better. He made a lot of mistakes. He worked deeper counts than I know he likes to do."

Extra bases

After a two-game absence, Domonic Brown (back) was healthy enough to return to Charlie Manuel's lineup Saturday while Ryan Howard missed his second straight game with a groin injury. The injury to Howard is not considered serious, and the first baseman was active during infield drills with his teammates. . . . Manuel said the team had yet to decide on a starter for Monday. The leading candidates are Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, and B.J. Rosenberg.

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