Phillies' cover stories: Roy Halladay hit hard, Joe Blanton hurting

David Brown

The Sports Illustrated cover jinx apparently needed all of 24 hours to dampen the buzz created by Roy Halladay(notes) and the Philadelphia Phillies.

A day after S.I. picked the Phillies to win the World Series using Halladay as its cover boy, the Toronto Blue Jays pounded their former ace for four runs and five hits in the first inning in his final Grapefruit League tune-up.

The Blue Jays, who won Wednesday's game 5-2, laughed off Halladay's rough first, which included three doubles and a two-run home run by Aaron Hill(notes).

"I think he was trying to build our confidence up, is what he was doing," Lyle Overbay(notes) said jokingly.

Another former teammate, Vernon Wells(notes), seemed astonished Halladay spoke to him during the game. (Halladay can be kind of intense.)

MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweeted:

"He talked to me," Wells said. "When I flew out to right. He said, 'Have a good year V.' A full sentence."

Halladay never would do that in the regular season. But it's only spring training. Besides, Halladay righted himself in the second inning, striking out the side, and finished with a 1-2-3 third.

So, he'll probably be fine. Halladay was quoted as saying he was "extremely anxious" to start opening day against the Washington Nationals in D.C. Once the president throws out the first pitch for real, the Doc will be in again.

The Phillies, however, might be anxious right now about Joe Blanton(notes), their No. 3 starter. He has come down with a strained left oblique muscle, which puts his first scheduled start in jeopardy.

Hmm. Closer Brad Lidge's(notes) velocity is down. Halladay's getting smacked around by Canada. Blanton pulled something. Jamie Moyer(notes) is even older than he was yesterday. Jayson Werth's(notes) beard has been eliminated.

Is something wicked this way coming for the two-time defending NL champions?