Roy Halladay has endured a pattern of inconsistency this season, and once again it is on the downside.
His season has included two poor starts followed by three good ones and now two disasters.
For the second straight game, Halladay was lit up early, yielding nine runs (all earned) in 21/3 innings Sunday in a 14-2 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay was on the short side of a 14-2 score for the second straight game. He lost by the same score Tuesday in Cleveland.
It's natural to wonder how much warranty is left on Halladay's right arm.
He turns 36 on May 14. Against the Marlins, he didn't have much zip or movement on his pitches. Of the 65 pitches he threw, three were recorded exactly at 90 miles per hour and none above.
Halladay threw 38 pitches in surrendering five first-inning runs. The first two came across on a two-run double to left by Marcell Ozuna that just missed being a grand slam. The ball bounced off the top of the left-field wall and was ruled a double, which was confirmed after a video review.
The Marlins also got a two-out, three-run triple to right-center by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who entered the game batting .169 with three RBIs.
Hechavarria would only be warming up.
Only 18 of Halladay's 38 first-inning pitches were strikes.
It was the second straight rocky opening inning for Halladay, who surrendered four first-inning runs in the loss at Cleveland. He gave up eight earned runs in 32/3 innings against the Indians.
Against Miami, Halladay was lifted after he gave up a third-inning grand slam to Hechavarria. He left to a combination of cheers and boos.
In 21/3 innings, Halladay allowed nine runs, all earned, on four hits. He walked four, struck out four and hit two batters.
This was against a Marlins team that was last in the major Leagues with 84 runs entering the game.
To put things in perspective, the Marlins had scored nine runs in the previous six games against the Phillies this season.
Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey threw seven shutout innings for his first win of the season.
Halladay (2-4, 8.65 ERA) is earning $20 million in the final season of his contract. One has to wonder how much longer he will be in the Phillies rotation.
The Phillies split a four-game series with a Marlins team that is now 10-22.
And now comes the hard part. The Phillies (14-18) departed for a seven-game road trip that begins with Monday's matchup in San Francisco against the defending World Series champion Giants.