Roy Halladay has never had a problem in the first half of the season. But post-All-Star break injuries have cut his last two seasons short.
The ace of the Toronto Blue Jays takes the mound Saturday looking for his major league-leading 13th victory and hoping to stay healthy as Toronto continues a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre.
Halladay (12-2, 2.92 ERA) has a 62-26 record in 128 games, including 115 starts, prior to the All-Star break in his career, but is only 29-19 in 74 games — 62 starts—after it. The hard-throwing right-hander missed the entire second half of the 2005 season after suffering a fractured tibia in his final start before the All-Star break and made only four starts after the 2004 All-Star game because of a tired shoulder that sidelined him two months.
The last time Halladay pitched a full season for Toronto (49-40), he won the 2003 AL Cy Young Award with a 22-7 record. Halladay pitched 266 innings that year, still the most by a pitcher since Randy Johnson logged 271 2-3 innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999.
Halladay won his last four starts heading into this season’s All-Star break and was dominant in his last two, limiting opponents to one run in 14 2-3 innings. He yielded one run in seven innings of Toronto’s 11-3 romp over Kansas City on Sunday and also allowed one run in a two-inning stint at Tuesday’s All-Star game in Pittsburgh.
“Just getting two runs for Halladay is good for him,” Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill said after Sunday’s win. “That guy is our horse. He’s a great pitcher and he’s going to be a great pitcher for a long time.”
The Blue Jays expect right fielder Alex Rios to miss this 10-game homestand due to a staph infection in his left leg.
Seattle opened the series with a 5-3 victory Friday as Gil Meche won his fifth consecutive decision. The Mariners scored three first-inning runs, and Meche won Seattle’s first game after the All-Star break after winning the last one before it.
“I don’t know if I could pitch tomorrow,” Meche joked. “I kind of hit a wall today. I got a little tired. I think everybody noticed it. It was one of the days I didn’t mind coming out after six.”
The Mariners (44-46) will try to provide veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer (5-8, 3.50) some run support after being shut out in each of his last two starts. Moyer did not pitch particularly well in his last outing on July 5, when he was reached for four runs and six hits in seven innings of a 4-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.
Moyer has grown accustomed to pitching with little or no support. The Mariners have given him no support in six his 18 starts, and scored just one run in two others. The left-hander is 12-7 with a 4.94 ERA in 33 games—31 starts— lifetime against the Blue Jays.
Mariners center fielder Adam Jones went 0-for-3 with a walk in his major league debut. The 20-year-old Jones was hitting .277 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs at Triple-A Tacoma before being recalled prior to Friday’s game.