Apr 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) reacts to striking out during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets defeated the Phillies 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies @ Miami Marlins Series Preview: What in the World is wrong with Roy Halladay?

The Miami Marlins have tied their worst start in franchise history through 9 games, matching the 1998 ball clubs horrendous 1-8 start. Even though both teams started their seasons in pretty bad fashion, winning just one of their first eight games, both teams had distinct differences. As Michael Jong pointed out on Fishstripes, the 1998 Marlins hit the ball well, but their pitching was well below league average. The 2013 Marlins are just the opposite, with superb starting pitching and an offense that ranks amongst the worst in baseball.

Luckily, the Marlins run into another team that has struggled out of the gate for the 2013 season. The Phillies currently sit in fourth place in the NL East with a 4-5 record. The Marlins hope to win this series and turn things around before the hole they dug themselves into gets too big.

To preview the series between the Marlins and Phillies, I had an email chat with Justin Klugh, the editor of That Balls Outta Here , the Fansided Philadelphia Phillies site. Justin and his staff do an excellent job of covering everything Phillies related. Be sure to check out the questions I answered for Justin on his site.

To get a better feel of Justin, check out his posts here on Zoo with Roy and Philly Love Notes. Some interesting stuff on both sites.

Justin and I chatted about everything from the struggles of ace Roy Halladay to the possibility of adding Ryan Howard from The Office to the Phillies roster.

Without any further ado, here is my chat with Justin:

Apr 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay (34) wipes his face after being pulled in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ehsan Kassim: What is wrong with Roy Halladay? If Halladay sucks against the Marlins, can we just stick him six-feet under and walk away?

Justin Klugh: In the grand scheme of things, nothing – elite pitcher, Hall of Famer, perfect game-thrower (I’m sure you remember), postseason no-hitter-haver, and devourer of innings and harbinger of offensive doom.

Right now, though; yeah. It was thought to be his elbow, then he said it was his lower back, then he got a stomach virus, and how his velocity’s down from low nineties to high eighties so he’s got to rely on what the Philly media repeatedly calls “guile.” It’s not going great, because after retiring the first batter of a game, he pretty much serves up batting practice before an early hook.

Think about how intense the man’s work ethic is. On the field, off the field; when he’s not running stairs in real life, he’s doing it in his head. His body is 36-years-old and there’s always the chance that it is just rejecting baseball.

But nobody wants to shut him down – he’ll get as much time as he needs, and this will be handled properly and respectfully. It has to be. Because it’s Roy Halladay.

This is terrible. Let’s talk about something else.

Ehsan: Please tell us about Michael Young‘s wonderful “leadership.” Is it all that you hoped it would be?

Justin: Oh, great, yeah – Michael Young. That’s what I meant.

I don’t know how far Young’s leadership goes in a clubhouse with Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, but what I care about more – because it actually matters – is his defense and offense. His bat is catching on, fast, and his defense is never going to be stellar. So the most we can ask is that he stops the ball when it comes to him and knocks in runs from the five-hole. He’s doing that, for now. He won’t be all year. And in those moments, I hope this “leadership” thing comes out, because he’ll need some reason for me to not key his car.

No, I’ve never keyed a car. And he seems really nice. Good guy.

Ehsan: Since The Office is about to finish up their final season this year, how likely do you think a trade of Ryan

Howard for Ryan Howard would be at this point? Who would win the trade?

Justin: As far as baseball talent goes, obviously we would be losers having a weakly-drawn ancillary character from the declining “Ryan Howard” of TV shows batting fourth. BUT, I imagine BJ Novak’s contract is a lot smaller than Ryan’s, so we’d only have to put up with it for so long.

Ryan Howard, the Phillies one, however, would be stuck sitting in the abandoned set of The Office until 2016.

Ehsan: Do you see the Phillies as contenders for this season or are they headed down a steep over the hill decline?

Justin: Depends on if they won or lost last night. They won this time, so yeah, World Series ’13.

Ehsan: Chase Utley finally seems to be healthy and playing well. Is this a mirage or should we expect him to break down sometime this season?

Justin: He’s a quietly humming machine, going back to his youth. He looks amazing out there. His knees are a worry in that you worry about them all the time, but at the moment, he doesn’t seem too concerned. He’s the only guy whose been productive every day (though J-Roll has touched base in every game as well) and if he does break down, we’ll suddenly read about it in the paper some morning (or I guess on the internet, since it is 2013). Chase is going to play until his body gives out, and until then, apparently, he will maintain an absurd level of production, regardless of age.

Ehsan: Any bold predictions for this series, like the Marlins putting more than a goose egg on the scoreboard?

Justin: How bold is it to predict that Cole Hamels throws a complete game shut out? I’ll also predict Ben Revere hits his first career home run. I’ll also predict Giancarlo Stanton breaks out hard. Probably on John Lannan.

Maybe Hamels.

 

A big thank you to Justin for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Phillies fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out That Balls Outta Here for some of the best Phillies content on the internet.

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