Halladay's strong effort not backed by offense

Halladay's strong effort not backed by offense

Halladay's strong effort not backed by offense
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay is frequently referred to as being robotic. It's meant as a compliment. It means he controls his emotions as tightly as his pitches. It's one of the reasons he's one of the best starters of his generation.

A reminder that he's still human was briefly on display in the seventh inning of Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Padres before another sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park. It wasn't overt. But after Cameron Maybin scored what proved to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly, Halladay was clearly frustrated. He yelled into his glove. He stalked off the mound after the final out.

And he should have been upset. It was his fifth straight start in which the Phillies ended up losing the game. That hasn't happened to him since 1999, when he was just getting started with the Toronto Blue Jays and ended the season in the bullpen.

"I wasn't happy. It's an emotional game. I don't want this to sound the wrong way, but I'm never going to apologize for being emotional. Sometimes it hurts, and it should. If it doesn't, you should quit playing. I was not thrilled," he admitted.

It's not that he hasn't won since April 16, he stressed, even though he's pitched well in four of those five outings; his teammates have back him with one, one, two and one runs. "Not the run support," he said. "Just not winning games. That's frustrating for everybody. That's really the bottom line. And there are a lot of different reasons for that."

He said all the right things. About how his job is to keep his team in the game. How he can't control wins and losses. But he conceded that at times like this it can be difficult to keep that focus.

"It can be challenging sometimes to keep that in mind and not forget that," he said. "But that's my job, to give us a chance and do it consistently. And that's what I'm going to try to continue to do. You can't get caught up in personal wins and losses. As a team, yeah, it's important to win."

Manager Charlie Manuel admitted that, when the season opened, he couldn't have imagined losing five straight games in which Halladay started. "But, there again, it's hard to explain baseball sometimes. That's what makes it such a strange and beautiful game. It's hard to figure out. That's part of it. That's part of the season and part of what you can endure and bounce back and a measurement of how good you are."

The Phillies aren't very good right now, at least offensively, especially when they have chances. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position Saturday night.

"I'm going to tell you, we had quite a few chances to score. We left quite a few men on base. We definitely left a lot of scoring position and we couldn't get a hit," Manuel said. "I'm sure when [Halladay] goes out there pitching and he gives up two runs, I'm sure that he gets upset. Yes. I kind of feel for him. I would get upset. As a matter of fact, I do. We had all the chances in the world and we didn't get it done."

The most glaring example came in the bottom of the seventh, immediately after San Diego took the lead. Now trailing and forced to hit for Halladay, Manuel sent up Juan Pierre who reached on an infield hit against Padres reliever Luke Gregerson. Playing for a tie at home, Jimmy Rollins dropped a sacrifice bunt ... and the Phillies got a break when Gregerson threw wildly to first. Suddenly, there were runners on second and third with nobody out.

Manuel has mentioned several times recently that even when the opposing team tries to give the Phillies a game, they don't take advantage. And it happened once again.

Placido Polanco grounded out back to the mound. Shane Victorino, who had three hits, was walked intentionally. Hunter Pence, swinging at the first pitch, popped up. And Ty Wigginton, who stranded nine runners in the game, grounded into a force play.

"I can only describe it as what our record [15-19] is," Pence said. "It's about winning games. The key is getting runners in. I'm generally pretty confident about being able to do that. In this game, I got my pitch. It's just not happening right now. I feel like I'm a better hitter than that. I just have to keep pushing."

At the moment, all the Phillies seem to be pushing a rock uphill.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.