Halladay out to halt personal slide

Halladay out to halt personal slide

TORONTO -- One of Roy Halladay's many strengths is consistency. He has usually been just what the Doc has ordered when it comes to stopping prolonged Blue Jays losing streaks.

But lately, the losses have come more consistently than the wins for the ace of the staff and the 2003 American League Cy Young Award winner.

Halladay is coming off an August in which he went 2-4 with a 4.71 ERA. The first loss of the month came against Friday's opponent, the New York Yankees. Halladay pitched a complete game in the 5-3 loss, giving up three home runs, 10 hits, four earned runs and no walks.

He won his next two starts, going eight innings each time against the Orioles and the Rays. But since then he has lost three consecutive starts, including his outing against the Red Sox at Fenway Park last Sunday, when he allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings.

"I feel fine," Halladay said after that game.

In his two losses before that, he went five and six innings against the Red Sox and Rays, respectively.

After beating the White Sox on May 17, Halladay stood at 8-1, with a 2.78 ERA. He enters Friday's start at 13-8, with a 3.13 ERA.

Early in the season, it helped that the Blue Jays were scoring runs, but the offense has long since dried up, and Halladay is one of those suffering from the fallout.

He acknowledges that it makes his job easier when he has some run support, particularly early in the game.

But, he says, "My job is to make pitches not worry about how many runs we score. That's all I try and do. I don't think it changes the way you go out and pitch."

Against such teams as the Red Sox and Yankees, it becomes more difficult, because those clubs have the ability to take advantage of mistakes.

In the second inning on Sunday, he gave up a leadoff homer in the second to Rocco Baldelli on a cutter that he left up instead of putting it in the intended down-and-away location.

"Sometimes you get away with them and it's a popup," Halladay said. "But better teams, they don't miss them. That's why they're good teams. They take advantage of mistakes, and they don't miss them very often."

And on Friday night, Halladay faces the best team the AL has. He knows he must limit his mistakes.

"You know, you're always working to improve," he said. "You realize you're never going to be perfect, but you try to eliminate as many mistakes as you can."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Roy Halladay (13-8, 3.13 ERA)
Halladay lost his second consecutive decision to the Red Sox -- and third overall -- on Sunday at Fenway Park, scattering seven hits and fanning six over six innings of four-run ball. He has lost three consecutive starts only twice before in his career, with the most recent stretch from April 17-29, 2008. In three outings against the Yankees this season, he is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and two complete games.

NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-4, 4.38 ERA)
Though the Yankees won't reveal how many innings Chamberlain will pitch, they have confirmed that he will remain on a five-day schedule for the rest of the season. He threw just three innings and 35 pitches his last time out, against the White Sox on Sunday, in the first test of the revamped "Joba Rules." Considering those rules, it is unlikely that the Yankees will allow him to pitch six innings on Friday, as they did in his last start against the Blue Jays, on Aug. 11. For his career, he has a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings at Rogers Centre.

Tidbits
After losing in Texas on Wednesday night, the Blue Jays did not take batting practice before Thursday's opener of a four-game series with the Yankees. ... After the series with the Yankees, the Blue Jays are home for four games against the Twins starting Monday afternoon. ... Manager Cito Gaston would not say who the additional September callups will be when the Minor League season ends on Monday, but did say that one will be a starting pitcher. Pitchers Dirk Hayhurst and Brian Wolfe and utility player Joe Inglett were added when rosters expanded on Tuesday. ... Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is expected to be ready to return to action after he comes off the disabled list this weekend. He went on the 15-day DL retroactive to Aug. 21 with a strained left hamstring. ... Toronto is one of 14 teams that entered Thursday below .500, but it is the only team among the 14 to have scored more runs, 630, than it has allowed, 623.

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Up next
• Saturday: Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 6-3, 5.42) vs. Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 12-6, 4.03), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 5-9, 5.17) vs. Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 3-1, 5.65), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Blue Jays (Scott Richmond, 6-8, 4.53) vs. Twins (Jeff Manship, 0-0, 3.75), 1:07 p.m. ET

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.