Roy Halladay didn’t alleviate any concern about his pitching prowess with his 2013 debut Wednesday night.
Halladay struck out nine but he allowed five runs in 3.1 innings. He gave up six hits and walked three. Halladay threw 95 pitches.
The Phillies insist Halladay is healthy. If that’s true, could the 35-year-old simply be in decline? How does he compare against pitchers of similar ability when they were a similar age?
The website baseball-reference.com compares Halladay to 9 pitchers based on their performances until the age of 35.
Seven of those pitchers – Mike Mussina, Bob Welch, Dwight Gooden, Kevin Brown, Bret Saberhagen, Carl Hubbell and Run Guidry - are retired. Two – Tim Hudson of the Braves and Andy Pettite of the New York Yankees - are active.
Halladay turns 36 on May 14.
How did the above pitchers perform when they were 36? Only seven of them pitched when they were 36. Gooden retired at the age of 35. Saberhagen missed the entire season when he was 36.
The remaining seven had an average record of 11-9. Hudson was the best. He went 16-7 for the Braves as a 36-year-old last season. Guidry was the worst. He finished 5-8.
Is a Halladay who finishes 11-9 going to be good enough to help the Phillies reach the postseason this year?
The comparisons also suggest the end is coming quickly for Halladay.
After the age of 35, the nine pitchers played for an average of three more years. Of course, Pettitte and Hudson are still active.
Their average record from the age of 36 on was 25-19.
The numbers suggest Halladay can still win but is no longer a top-of-the-line starter. Our eyes told us the same thing Wednesday night.