Phillies ace Roy Halladay had an uncharacteristically bad start on Wednesday, giving up a six-run lead to the Braves in what eventually became an 11-inning, 15-13 loss to Atlanta.
Afterwards, the media was informed that Halladay would leave the team for personal matters. The timing -- perhaps coincidental and perhaps not -- is curious, but for now, Halladay's departure is none of our business. The only way that changes is if it's something baseball-related and right now that doesn't appear to be the case.
“This has nothing to do with baseball,” a person with knowledge of the situation told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
And that's why the consensus approach to Halladay's departure has been reverent silence. You won't hear mention of the issue, at least as to how it might be part of the reason for Halladay's bad start, from pitching coach Rich Dubee (via MLB.com).
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"At times it doesn't seem like his stuff is accelerating through the hitting zone," Dubee said. "At times it does."
Dubee did say, via CSNPhilly.com, that it was "mostly [Wednesday]" when he saw those struggles from Halladay.
“It could have been the heat,” Dubee said. “I don’t know. It could be release point. It was a combination of a bunch of stuff. It wasn’t a good night."
So maybe part of it is the personal issue. That's fine, it's not like Halladay -- as much as he might pitch like one sometimes -- is an actual robot. If he's dealing with family issues, he needs to be given space and privacy to do so.
But if it's something that relates to his baseball performance, then it becomes a concern. If you want an example of this, look towards Giants first baseman/outfielder Aubrey Huff, who recently left the team for "personal reasons" that ended up being anxiety.
That's not to knock anxiety: it's a legit problem. But it's also something that directly relates to Huff's ability to perform on a baseball field. No one's lacking sympathy for Huff as a result of his distress, but the fact that his mental condition will effect how he performs on the baseball field does change the way the Giants go about business.
As of right now, there's no one questioning Doc Halladay's ability to continue performing on the field. His track record is too solid to warrant any such questions.
And go anywhere: MLB.com, SportingNews.com, CSNPhilly.com, local papers, Bleacher/Report, whatever, and you're not going to find much complaining about Halladay taking whatever time he needs. (The closest thing I can find is a post ThatBallsOuttaHere.com, which I think is sarcastic.) Even the "More Questions Than Answers" headlines aren't talking about Halladay's off-field issues.
On the slew of local Phillies blogs, there's no debating about Doc leaving, and there shouldn't be, because, again, it's personal.
And with someone as accomplished as Halladay, the only thing that changes that is a slew of consecutive poor starts after his return or no return at all.