4/4/2013 10:39 P.M. ET
Phils confident Doc will cure early problems
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- On Thursday, less than 24 hours after Roy Halladay needed 95 pitches to record 10 outs, the Phillies maintained a rosy disposition, insisting that the two-time Cy Young Award winner is going to be better.
They were asked if they understood the skepticism following Halladay's substandard 2012 and poor Spring Training.
"Nobody has our patience either, probably," pitching coach Rich Dubee said before the series finale against the Braves. "I've always said, when you judge players, you go off their track records. And who has a longer, better track record than this guy? I mean, who does? And not only a track record as far as being a quality pitcher, but as far as being a quality person with credentials that are out of this world."
"Yeah, because he set the standards so high," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's Roy Halladay. The expectation is [that] he's going out there and throwing eight shutout innings every time. But we're here to win baseball games, and he's going to help us win games, whether it's pitching six, seven, eight or nine [innings]. He's going to help us."
Dubee talked at length about Halladay's outing on Wednesday, saying he sees a pitcher who is going to solve his problems and become a winner again.
"As far as Doc's stuff, I feel very good about it," Dubee said. "I think he continues to build. Like I said, his last two outings in Spring Training, he's starting to build momentum. Is he there yet? No. But I thought his stuff continues to improve. The one thing he's not doing, he's not commanding it like he needs to."
Halladay threw 50 percent offspeed pitches on Wednesday, which has not been his style. In fact, he threw very few fastballs after being knocked around in the first inning.
"I don't know if it's an issue of trusting his stuff as much as trying to get to where he understands what his stuff is and how it's going to play and how he can work off that," Dubee said. "It's still a phase where he's trying to find out what he's going to have and what he's going to be able to do. … He's still got swing-and-miss stuff, and he's got to find a way -- and we have to find a way -- to be a little more aggressive and get quicker outs."
But Dubee doesn't think Halladay is afraid to throw his fastball, which lacks the velocity of the past.
"He's still got real good movement," he said. "I thought he threw some real good cutters down and away from right-handers, which he hadn't been able to do."
Dubee said Halladay hadn't been able to do that because of bad habits he picked up last season, when he pitched with back and shoulder problems.
"This was a guy who did something as consistently as you could possibly do it for years," Dubee said. "[There were] bad habits to get the ball to the plate last year, trying to work through some of the health issues. And I'm a big believer that the more you do something wrong, the more it becomes ingrained. If you do it wrong and you do it wrong and you do it wrong, it takes time to get that feeling out of your body and get the right feeling back in it.
"I'm starting to see some results. You think I'm going to take the ball away from this guy? You're talking about a two-time Cy Young Award winner. What do you think, we're going to put him in the bullpen? I'm seeing results. I'm seeing nine strikeouts out of 10 outs last night. Do you see many other guys doing that in baseball? Yu Darvish against the Astros. Yu Darvish wasn't facing the Atlanta Braves."
Offense of no concern to Manuel
ATLANTA -- The Phillies were outscored, 16-7, in the first two games of their three-game series against the Braves at Turner Field, but manager Charlie Manuel isn't concerned about his offense.
Two games into the season? Come on.
"I saw [Albert] Pujols come into today's game, not a hit," Manuel said. "[Mike] Trout came in without a hit. They didn't have any hits. They got a hit today. But we've played two ballgames. I'm going to panic and go up there and jump off top of that thing there. Off that stadium. It would be my luck to live."
"I'm not upset. But really, we've played two games. When I was a player, quite a few times, I went two games without a hit. … It's just a matter of time before we start hitting and scoring some runs. Might be tonight, might be tomorrow. We're going to hit. I feel strong about our team. We're going to win some games. I mean, I like our team. We should be there all year long, really. When we go on skids, we'll come out of those, then we'll play much better at times."
Good spring carrying through for Brown
ATLANTA -- Domonic Brown carried his good Spring Training into the first two games of the season, and he entered Thursday's series finale with the Braves with three hits in seven at-bats, with one walk.
"He looks good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got a couple of hits last night off a lefty. He looks good. Yeah."
Conversely, Ryan Howard entered the night 0-for-8 following a good spring.
"That's baseball," Manuel said. "That's the way it goes. You don't take nothing for granted, and you play every day. That's what it is."
• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins played in his 1,795th game on Thursday, passing Richie Ashburn and moving into second place on the franchise all-time list for most played. He needs to play 609 more to catch franchise leader Mike Schmidt.
• The Phillies have returned outfielder Ender Inciarte, their Rule 5 selection in December, to the D-backs.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.