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Sliding Doors: Roy Halladay and Kevin Slowey

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Hard times for Halladay (USAT)

Sports mismatches are usually easy to spot a mile away. Verlander against the Astros. The Patriots against the Bills. Usain Bolt against anyone.

In 2013, oddly, we can add Kevin Slowey versus Roy Halladay to that list.

The worst team in the majors finally had a day to laugh about Sunday, as the Marlins crushed the Phillies, 14-2. Slowey was brilliant over seven two-hit innings (2 BB, 7 K), lowering his ERA to 1.81 and his WHIP to 0.94. Halladay was the opposite extreme, allowing nine earned runs and leaving in the middle of the third. He's now carrying an 8.65 ERA and 1.41 WHIP; looking at his stat page is like staring into the sun. Step away from the laptop, gamer.

Halladay conceded after the game that he's been pitching through a sore shoulder. It's just about a lock he'll go on the disabled list. It's sad to see a likely Hall of Famer struggle like this. That said, if you're limited in your DL slots, I'm not sure Halladay is even worth a stash at this point. He turns 36 in the middle of the month, he's been dealing with velocity problems all year, and he's coming off a messy 2012 season (4.49/1.22). Gravity always wins.

It would have been nice to know about Halladay's shoulder issues before Sunday, of course, not that fantasy owners couldn't see the smoke in this case. This is why the buy-low (or last year's bum) mantra can be tricky with pitchers - you never know who's secretly broken.

Gamers have been slow to adopt the Slowey story: he's still unowned in 85 percent of Yahoo! leagues. But after seven excellent turns in a row, what's keeping you? At some point a great start becomes a worthwhile season. Slowey has a pedigree (he was well-regarded as a Minnesota prospect in the mid-to-late 00s) and he's working half the time in a roomy ballpark, an ideal fit for a fly-ball pitcher. The strikeout rate is just okay, but he's hardly walking anyone (thus, the K/BB ratio supports the story). He's held up nicely on the road, succeeding against three tricky matchups (at Washington, Cincinnati and Philly).

I've seen some Slowey reservation for next week's start at Chavez Ravine, but I don't sign off on that angle. The Dodgers were 28th in scoring entering Sunday's play and obviously they play in a pitcher-friendly stadium. While I'm not going to trust Slowey in any hitting-extreme environments, I'm fine to use him in most other parks. Yes, the crummy Miami offense (Sunday to the side) is a concern, but let's take tidy ratios and quality innings anywhere we can get them.

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