TORONTO -- Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay has not looked like himself lately. In a dispiriting loss for the Blue Jays on Monday, Halladay allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- snapping a run of 78 consecutive (non-injured) starts dating back to June 5, 2007.
Such a performance is so rare for Halladay that Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann became the first starter to allow six runs pitching against the Jays' ace and still win, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Before Niemann, starters were 0-47 with eight no-decisions under such circumstances.
"It's just the location. He's not getting the ball where he wants to get it," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of Halladay's recent performance.
The rough outing against the Rays followed a 6-1 loss to the Red Sox in which Halladay gave up five runs -- four earned. The 11 earned runs he has allowed over those two starts represent the highest total over a two-start span since he gave up 16 between May 5 and 10, 2007.
For Gaston, Halladay's struggles of late may have something to do with the groin injury that sidelined the pitcher for more than two weeks in late June.
"I'm not real sure," Gaston said. "But I don't think he's really located since he's had the groin problem.
"His groin is not the problem at all. I'm just saying that since he's had that groin problem, he hasn't located like he wants to or should. It might just be the layoff time."
Before leaving with the groin issue in the fourth inning of the Jays' June 12 tilt with the Marlins, Halladay was 10-4 in 14 starts, posting an ERA of 2.53.
Since returning from the disabled list and the end of June, however, Halladay is 3-8 in 11 starts, with an ERA of 3.67.
Gaston felt the change in Halladay's routine -- which was also affected by the All-Star break in mid-July -- could have something to do with the dropoff in the ace's numbers.
"Just getting out of his routine, because he's very much routine guy," Halladay said. "But Doc is not going to make excuses -- he'll just tell you that he didn't hit his spots, and that's true."
Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.