One could see that it is really killing Roy Halladay to exude patience. If it were up to him, he would have finished Friday's 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals instead of pitching eight innings.

Yet Halladay understands that after missing 42 games with his shoulder injury that his bulldog mentality has to be lightened up a little bit, whether he likes it or not.

So pitching coach Rich Dubee has a plan and isn't about to deviate despite Halladay's admitted protests.

"Rich has been pretty, not adamant, but he told me how he wants to do it and I understand that," Halladay said after earning the win, while allowing just two hits in his eight inning stint. "I fought it a couple of times."

He knew on Friday it would be a losing proposition.

"He (Dubee) was not going to let me jump a couple of innings at a time, regardless we have one of the better closers in baseball and it was a 1-1 game," Halladay said.

Dubee made the decision after Halladay pitched eight ininings and threw 99 pitches that his evening was done. Halladay was the winning pitcher after Chase Utley  hit a two-run homer run in the bottom of the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon had another difficult but scoreless save in the ninth.

Yet Halladay truly doesn't count personal wins and losses.

He is about the team and he feels staying out for the duration of the game gives the Phillies the best chance to win.

The fact that he wants to finish games is a sign that the feisty old Halladay has returned.

In a way, Dubee is saving Halladay from himself.

"He is going to make sure we take small steps," Halladay said.

Of course Halladay is hoping the steps and the innings keep increasing.

"Hopefully we get a couple where I get a 4-5 run lead and can try and go out and do it," Halladay said about pitching a complete game.

Not only is his spirit and confidence back, but so is his ability to baffle hitters. In his last two games covering 15 innings, Halladay has allowed five hits to two teams, Arizona and St. Louis, that entered Friday having scored a total of 1,062 runs.

No doubt Halladay has given the Phillies a big lift and one of the positive signs as everybody looks toward 2013. Yet to show how much is expected of the right-hander, Utley doesn't think we are seeing Halladay at his absolute best.

"I think since he's been back it's the best game he has pitched yet and I still think he can improve and that is a good sign," Utley said.

It's also a good sign that Halladay agrees. He will never become complacent and won't be totally satisfied until he can begin finishing what he starts.