After a perfect game and a season worthy of a Cy Young, it was hard to imagine that even Roy Halladay had anything left that could shock the baseball world in 2010. Turns out it took making history. Last night Halladay had an outing for the ages, throwing the second no-hitter in 106 years of post-season play.
It was a performance to savor and Phillies fans won’t be the only ones who remember it for a long time. Halladay was nearly perfect, holding the NL’s best offense to a single walk over nine innings as the Phils topped the Reds 4-0. He didn’t need a ton of help from his defense to become the first pitcher since 1956 to throw a no-hitter in the post-season. Rollins made two nice plays in the game, one in the third base hole and one moving to his left, and Werth made a sliding catch in the fourth inning on a ball hit by pitcher Travis Wood. Halladay did the rest, striking out eight. He threw 104 pitches in the game, 79 for strikes.
The Phils got to Cincy’s starter early, chasing Edinson Volquez in the second inning. Victorino created a run almost on his own in the first, doubling the opposite way with one out, stealing third and coming home on a sac fly to put the Phils up 1-0. They added three more in the second. The first two hitters went down without a peep, but Ruiz drew a walk and moved to second on an infield single by Valdez. Halladay lined an RBI-single to left, scoring Ruiz and it was 2-0. A walk to Rollins loaded the bases for Victorino and Victorino delivered again, singling into center to plate two more runs as the Phils extended the lead to 4-0.
That was all the scoring the Phils would get in the game. Thanks to Halladay, it was all they would need. Halladay walked Jay Bruce in the fifth inning to allow the Reds their only base-runner.
After Volquez left the game, the Phillies offense went to sleep. Ibanez smoked a double off of Travis Wood in the third, but that was literally just about it. The Phillies had one base-runner after the third inning and he reached on an error. They had five hits in the game: an infield single by Valdez where a play could have been made, a single to left by Halladay where a play could have been made, Ibanez’s double and two hits from Victorino, both of which were critical in the game, but neither of which were exactly hammered. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Werth combined to go 0-for-14 in the game. It’s probably nothing, but for a team that has inexplicably disappeared offensively for long stretches at a time this season, it may be enough to make you nervous.
I think it’s also important to note how well the Cincinnati pen performed after Volquez’s early exit. Wood, Logan Ondrusek and Bill Bray all looked very good and combined to allow just a hit and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. Happily for Phillies fans, Wood threw 47 pitches in the game, which means we’re almost surely not going to see him in game two. Sounds good to me.
The Reds didn’t play well defensively in the game and the Phillies did. Three plays stick out in the game and two of them came in the second inning when the Phils scored three of their four runs. Cabrera couldn’t get an out on a ball he handled behind second base hit by Valdez with two outs. It would have taken a nice play to get an out, but the Reds didn’t get it. Later in the inning, still with two outs, Halladay lined a ball to left. Gomes couldn’t come up with it and it dropped for an RBI-single. It would have taken a very nice play to get an out there, but Gomes looked bad not making it. Later in the game, Ondrusek air-mailed a throw to first base for the game’s only error.
Two plays in the third, neither of them awful for the Reds, but neither of them made. If you think that Cincinnati’s defense is going to give them a boost in the series, it didn’t in game one.
Even if it had, there wasn’t much of anything that was going to defend them against Halladay. At least not last night. That guy knows there is no spoon.
The Phillies lead the best-of-five NLDS with the Reds one game to none after winning game one 4-0 last night.
Halladay got the start for the Phils and went nine innings, allowing a fifth-inning walk. He struck out eight. He threw a complete-game shutout of the Nationals in his final start in the regular season. Over his last two outings he has gone 18 innings, allowing two singles and a walk while striking out 14.
He faced a Cincinnati lineup that went (1) Brandon Phillips (2B/R) (2) Orlando Cabrera (SS/R) (3) Joey Votto (1B/L) (4) Rolen (3B/R) (5) Gomes (LF/R) (6) Bruce (RF/L) (7) Stubbs (CF/R) (8) Hernandez (C/R). The Reds did lead the league in runs this season, so there’s a good chance they know what they’re doing with their order. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to hit Cabrera, an awful offensive player who on-based .303 this year, ahead of Votto and second in the order. Phillips hit 18 home runs that seem like they might be better off moved down in the order, too.
Cincinnati started the game with six players on their bench, lefties Juan Francisco and Laynce Nix and righties Ryan Hanigan, Paul Janish, Chris Heisey and Miguel Cairo.
Phillips swung at the first pitch of the game and grounded to short. Cabrera fouled off a 3-2 pitch before he flew to Victorino for the second out. Votto grounded to Utley on an 0-1 pitch to set the Reds down. Votto hit the ball hard, but Utley took it on one hop for the out.
Ten pitches in the inning for Halladay.
He had a 1-0 lead when he started the second. He struck Rolen out looking 1-2 for the first out. Gomes grounded to Valdez at third for the second. He hit the ball hard, but Valdez handled it nicely. Bruce grounded to second on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame.
Twelve pitches in the inning, 22 for the game.
It was 4-0 when he started the third. He got ahead of Stubbs 0-2 and Stubbs popped up to Howard near the mound. He got ahead of Hernandez 0-2 and Hernandez hit a dribbler out in front of the plate. Ruiz pounced on it and threw him out for the second out. Pitcher Travis Wood was next and hit a 1-1 pitch hard to right, but Werth made a nice sliding catch for the third out.
Nine pitches in the inning had Halladay at 31 for the game. Of the 31 pitches, six had been balls. Three in the first (all to Cabrera), two in the second (one to Rolen and one to Gomes) and one in the third (to Wood).
Phillips struck out looking 2-2 for the first out of the fourth. Cabrera struck out swinging 0-2 for the second. Votto got behind and hit an 0-2 pitch in the hole between short and third. Rollins backhanded and made a strong throw to retire the side.
Twelve pitches in inning and 43 for the game.
Rolen struck out looking 2-2 for the first out of the fifth. He didn’t like the call, probably because the ball was off the plate. Gomes struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Bruce was next and swung and missed at the first pitch from Halladay. Halladay threw two balls before Bruce swung and missed again to even the count at 2-2. The 2-2 pitch was close, but called ball three and Halladay delivered ball four inside to give the Reds their only base-runner of the game. Stubbs was next and grounded to Rollins on a 1-2 pitch, with Rollins going to Utley at second for the third out.
After 18 pitches in the frame, Halladay was at 61. Great to see Halladay contain Votto and Bruce in the game, but Stubbs also came into the series super-hot and didn’t do anything with the bat.
Hernandez flew to right on an 0-1 pitch to start the sixth. Lefty Juan Francisco hit for Wood and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. The mound slowed the ball down and Rollins tracked it down behind second, then threw to first to beat Francisco. Phillips flew to Werth in shallow right on a 1-1 pitch for the third out.
8 and 69. I still don’t know exactly what happened on the ball that Francisco hit to slow it down. Sure looked like it was going to be a hit to me.
Cabrera grounded to Utley on a 3-2 pitch for the first out of the seventh. Votto grounded to third 1-2 for the second out. Rolen struck out swinging 2-2 for the third out.
Another long at-bat for Cabrera, working a 3-2 count for the second time in the game. Seven pitches in his at-bat before he flew to center. In the seventh he grounded to Utley on the eighth pitch.
Eighteen pitches for the game had Halladay at 87.
Halladay struck Gomes out swinging 0-2 for the first out of the eighth. Bruce chopped the first pitch of his at-bat back to the mound. Halladay fielded and threw to first for the second out. Stubbs struck out looking 0-2 for the third out.
Just seven pitches in the inning, all of which were strikes. 94 for the game.
Even as well as Halladay was pitching, I didn’t think there was much of a chance we were going to see a no-hitter until the eighth. That inning was silly. It went swingandamiss-foul-swingandamiss. One out. Soft ground ball to the mound. Two outs. Called strike, swingandamiss, called strike. Three outs.
Hernandez popped to Utley on an 0-1 pitch to start the ninth. The righty Cairo hit for the pitcher Bill Bray and fouled out to Valdez in foul territory on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Phillips got behind 0-2 and dribbled a ball out in front of the plate. He dropped his bat at he tore down the first base line and Ruiz jumped out to field the ball. The ball rolled into the bat that Phillips had dropped. Ruiz had to reach back to pick it up and went to his knees. He threw high to first base, but in time to get Phillips and end the game.
Great play by Ruiz as he tangled with the bat on the ground. Ten pitches in the inning for the Halladay. 104 for the game.
Not a very good day for much of anyone offensively for the Reds. A little worse for some than others. Rolen was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the game and Gomes 0-for-3 and whiffed twice.
The Phillies lineup against righty Edinson Volquez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Polanco is out of the lineup, unable to play with a sore back. Rollins moves into the leadoff spot with Victorino hitting second and Valdez eighth. Dobbs, the left-handed choice to play third, stays on the bench with Valdez in the lineup. Presumably that’s cause fielding isn’t his thing so much.
The Phillies bench had seven offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, Domonic Brown and Greg Dobbs and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Placido Polanco.
Rollins flew to center on a 1-0 pitch to start the bottom of the first. Victorino was next and sliced a 1-2 pitch the opposite way down the left field line for a double. Victorino stole third as the count went 2-0 on Utley. Hernandez threw from his knees on the steal and his throw was off line. Rolen made a nice play to pick it on a hop and keep the ball from going into left field. Utley flew to right on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino tagged and it shouldn’t have been close at the plate, but Bruce uncorked a strong and accurate throw and Victorino slid in just safe to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard flew to left on a 2-1 pitch for the third out.
Victorino did just about everything with a little help from Utley to put the Phils on top early. The stolen base allows him to score on the sac fly. Most guys wouldn’t have been able to score on the ball that Utley hit given the throw from Bruce in right.
Volquez threw 17 pitches in the inning.
Volquez got ahead of Werth 1-2 to start the second, but couldn’t put him away. Werth fouled off four of the next five pitches before hitting the ball hard to third. Rolen made another nice play, moving a step to his left and fielding before he threw to first for the first out. Ibanez flew to right on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Ruiz walked on four pitches. Valdez was next and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Cabrera gloved the ball behind the second and tried to flip to Phillips as his momentum carried him towards right field. The flip was terrible, Valdez had an infield single and the Phils had men on first and second with two down. Halladay swung at the first pitch and lined a ball into left in front of a sliding Gomes for a single. Ruiz scored to make it 2-0 and Valdez moved to third. Rollins walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Victorino. Victorino was next and swung at ball four with the count full, but then dumped a single in front of Stubbs, scoring Valdez and Halladay to put the Phils ahead 4-0. Lefty Travis Wood took over for Volquez and got Utley to ground to second to end the inning.
Huge hit for Victorino. Big walk by Rollins give him a chance. It would have taken a nice play from Gomes to make the play on the line drive by Halladay.
Wood was back to pitch the third. He struck out Howard on three pitches for the first out. Werth struck out looking 0-2 for the second. Ibanez hit a 2-1 pitch over Bruce’s head in right. The ball landed on the warning track for a double. Valdez flew to Stubbs in right center on a 1-0 pitch for the third out.
Wood set the Phils down in order in the fourth. Halladay flew to right for the first out. Rollins hit the ball hard, but Stubbs took it right in front of the wall for the second out. Victorino flew to center for the third out.
Wood threw a 1-2-3 fifth, getting Utley on a fly ball to right, Howard on a fly ball to left and striking Werth out looking 1-2.
Second time in three innings that Wood had struck Werth out looking. It took eight pitches total.
Righty Logan Ondrusek started the sixth for the Reds. Ibanez led off and hit a ball that Ondrusek fielded, but his throw to first was way too high for an error that allowed Ibanez to take second. Ruiz grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out with Ibanez holding second. Valdez moved Ibanez to third with a ground out to short, but Ibanez was left there when Halladay grounded back to Ondrusek for the third out.
Ruiz can’t move the runner up to third with the first out after Ondrusek air mails the Phils a gift on Ibanez’s ball.
Ondrusek got Rollins to line softly to short for the first out. Victorino was next and he popped to Votto for the second out. Lefty Bill Bray came in to pitch to Utley. Utley hit the ball well, but Bray handled it flipped to first for the third out.
Bray was back to set the Phillies down in order in the eighth. Howard struck out looking, Werth flew to right and Ibanez popped to Cabrera in shallow center.
Wood threw 47 pitches in the game, so you won’t be seeing him tomorrow, which works for me. Ondrusek 22 and Bray 15.
Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. He hit the ball well in the fourth, but Stubbs took it at the wall.
Victorino was 2-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBI. He made a run virtually by himself in the first and followed that up with a big single in the second.
Utley 0-for-3 with an RBI.
Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice.
Werth 0-for-4 and struck out twice.
Ibanez 1-for-4 with a double.
Ruiz 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. Halladay can’t stop talking about what an amazing guy he is to pitch to. I’m starting to believe him.
Valdez was 1-for-3 with a single.
Game two is tomorrow night.
This suggests that Polanco expects to be able to play.