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Halladay’s No-Hitter Makes MLB History, Phillies Shut Out Reds

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

       Roy Halladay      Roy Halladay     Shane Victorino

Phillies ace Roy Halladay made his first-ever post-season appearance in high style against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday by making Major League Baseball history as only the 2nd pitcher to ever pitch a no-hitter in post-season play.  The only other holder of that historical distinction was  Don Larsen who threw an El-Perfecto at the then Brooklyn Dodgers in the  5th game of the 1956 World Series. The Yankees went on to win that series in the full 7 games.  Halladay’s shot at perfection was only marred by a fifth inning 2 out walk to Reds’ rightfielder Jay Bruce. But Halladay got the Reds’ next hitter, centerfielder Drew Stubbs to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning as Halladay’s no-hitter made MLB history and the Phillies shut out the Reds by 4-0 in their NLDS opener.

Halladay’s prowess was not limited to the pitcher’s mound.  Nursing a 1-0 first inning lead acquired due to centerfielder Shane Victorino’s 1 out double, his steal of 3rd base and 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s sacrifice fly RBI, Halladay’s 2 out second inning RBI single off of Reds’ starter Edinson Volquez was in the center of the Phils’ 3 run second inning which added cushion to the lead, as if “the Doc” really needed cushion.

Halladay threw 104 pitches, a miraculous 79 of them for strikes, in completing his no-hitter.  Having gotten Bruce on the 2 out fielder’s choice in the fifth inning, Doc faced the regulation 27 Reds hitters.
He struck out 8 while yielding 12 ground balls and just 6 flies to the outfield.  Former Phil 3rd baseman
Scott Rolen took an 0 for 3 collar — all strikeouts and leftfielder Jonny Gomes struck out twice.

After Volquez got a groundout and fly out to start the second inning, he walked catcher Carlos Ruiz and then 3rd baseman Wilson Valdez singled to left centerfield putting runners on 1st and 2nd base. Valdez, who has been clutch through the season when he has played replacing Utley, shortstop  Jimmy Rollins or Polanco, was subbing for Placido Polanco who was scratched from the lineup with an ailing back.  That brought up Halladay who nailed Volquez’s 1st pitch to leftfield driving in Ruiz with the 2nd Phils run. 

From there, Volquez fell apart.  He went 3-0 to Rollins before walking him on a full count to load the bases.  Victorino chased Volquez with his 2nd single in two innings driving in Valdez and Halladay as the Phils took the 4-0 lead.  Rookie reliever Travis Wood entered and got Utley to ground out to 2nd base to end the inning.  Wood tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball only giving up a single and walking 1.  Two other Reds’ relievers held the Phils hitless through the final three innings but it didn’t much matter.  Halladay cruised to his no-hitter tossing but 9 pitches in the ninth to get a pop out to 2nd base, a foul out to 3rd base and 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips’ nubber which Ruiz jumped on and winged to 1st baseman Ryan Howard for the final out sealing the no-hitter.

The AP game recap for Yahoo notes:

Cincinnati didn’t come too close to a hit. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins made the toughest play, going deep in the hole and making a strong throw to retire Joey Votto in the fourth.

Pitcher Travis Wood hit a sinking liner to right that Jayson Werth caught in the third. Pinch-hitter Juan Francisco hit a hard grounder up the middle in the sixth, but Rollins scooted over and made it look easy.

Halladay became the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same year. He joined Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938).

The Phils have announced their post-season roster.  The big surprise here is the dropping of Kyle Kendrick from the roster in favor of young left-hander Antonio Bastardo.  It was previously thought that Kendrick would relieve in the playoffs.

To view the scores of all Wednesday’s playoff games, click here.

The Phils and Reds have Thursday off and renew play at Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park on Friday as Roy Oswalt is scheduled to start  game 2 opposed by Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo.  The two teams are off on Saturday before switching venues to Cincinnati for game 3. 

To view the schedule of all Thursday’s and Friday’s playoff games, click here and here.

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Phillies Take 2 of 3 From Braves, Maintain Momentum for Playoffs

Monday, October 4th, 2010

                       Jimmy Rollins    Kyle Kendrick

After clinching their 4th straight NL East title last week in Washington, the  Phillies went into Atlanta with hopes of maintaining winning momentum into the NL divisional playoffs which begin on Wednesday.  The Phils accomplished what they set out to do taking 2 of the 3 games from the Braves by 11-5 and 7-0 scores on Friday and Saturday while making things awfully dicey for the Braves’ playoff hopes before narrowly losing Sunday’s regular season final by an 8-7 score.  By salvaging Sunday’s final, the Braves took the NL wildcard spot as the San Diego Padres were shut out by the San Francisco Giants.

On Friday, Kyle Kendrick tossed 2 run, 5 hit ball through five innings in besting Atlanta’s rookie Brandon Beachy who was charged with 2 of 5 sixth inning runs.  The big blow of the inning was shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ 2 out Grand Slam homer off of Braves lefthanded reliever Mike Dunn which broke up a 2-2 tie.  During the inning, Beachy issued a bases-loaded walk accounting for the Phils’ lead run. 

Up 7-2, the Phils scored 4 more eighth inning runs as 6 of the Phillies 8 starting lineup position players garnered 2 or more hits with only Rollins and rightfielder Ben Francisco getting a hit apiece.  Kendrick, who went five innings, notched his 11th win vs 10 losses.  6 other relievers got into the game as only lefthander Mike Zagurski, who pitched 2/3rds of the ninth inning, was tagged for the other 3 Braves runs.

On Saturday, the Phils offense shined again, albeit scoring all 7 runs late in the game.  Rockie Vance Worley’s five inning 1 hitter bested Tommy Hanson who gave up 6 hits through five frames.  4 Phils relievers blanked Atlanta on 3 hits the rest of the way with lefthander Antonio Bastardo garnering the win after throwing a scoreless sixth inning. Braves lefthanded reliever Jonny Venters was pounded for 4 seventh inning runs as the Phils broke the scoreless tie.  Venters was charged with the loss.  The Phils scored a single run in the eighth and 2 more in the ninth in what by then was garbage time.

On Sunday, the Phils sent out lefthander Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt for playoff tune-ups with Hamels throwing two hitless, scoreless innings while Oswalt was nicked for a run in the third on 2 hits in his inning of work.   With the Phils up in the fourth inning by 2-1 on John Mayberry Jr.’s third inning pinch 2 run homer off of starter Tim Hudson, reliever Danys Baez was pounded for 4 runs on 5 hits as the Braves took a 5-2 lead.  The lead mushroomed to 8-2 as the Braves scored 2 fifth inning runs and a run in the sixth.  Baez was charged with the loss. 

But the Phils, determined not to make the Braves entry into the playoffs easy, scored 2 seventh inning runs on rightfielder Jayson Werth’s 27th homer and scored 3 more in the eighth as the Braves committed 2 errors.  Braves reliever Billy Wagner was tagged with the Phils seventh run on 2 hits before retiring the side in the eighth.  The he went on to strike out the side in the ninth reiring the final 4 hitters he faced via strikeouts to earn his 37th save.  Closer Brad Lidge had a dicey eighth giving up a hit, 2 walks and throwing a wild pitch.  With 1 out and the sacks jammed, Lidge got shortstop Alex Gonzalez to ground into shortstop-to-second-to-first doubleplay to retire the side.

For the AP game recaps on all 3 games, click here, here, and here.

To view the scores of all Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s climactic games, click here, here and here.

The division playoffs are set to start on Wednesday with the Phils playing the Nl Central division champion Cincinnati Reds.  Manager Charlie Manuel has indicated that Roy Halladay will start game 1 vs Edinson Volquez while  Roy Oswalt is scheduled to start Friday’s game 2.   The Reds have not yet announced their game 2 starter.  Manuel has not yet officially announced his starter for next Sunday’s game 3, although the likely choice would be a well-rested Cole Hamels who will have had a week’s rest after starting and going 2 innings in Sunday’s regular season finale.  The Phils’ announce-ment of their pot-season roster is eagerly awaited.

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Phillies Split Final 2 Games With Nationals, Face Atlanta for Season-Ending 3

Friday, October 1st, 2010

    Roy Oswalt   Ben Francisco  Mike Sweeney

               John Mayberry Jr.     Joe Blanton

After Phillies ace Roy Halladay’s 2 hit masterpiece clinched their 4th consecutive NL East crown, the Phils went on to split the final 2 games with  Washington Nationals as the Phils maintained momentum going into Atlanta for the final series of the regular season with the Braves.

On Tuesday, the other Roy, Roy Oswalt prepped for the playoffs with a five inning 67 pitch, 1 run, 2 hit effort as the two teams were knotted 1-1.  He walked 2 and struck out 3 for the no-decision outing.  Manager Charlie Manuel began rested starters while giving shortstop Jimmy Rollins, just back from the DL, some pre-playoffs playing time.  Rollins went 0 for the 2 games.  3rd baseman Placido Polanco, centerfielder Shane Victorino, rightfielder Jayson Werth and catcher Carlos Ruiz all sat with Greg Dobbs,  Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown and Brian Schneider playing in their stead.  Leftfielder Raul Ibanez led off the fourth with a homer off of Jason Marquis but the Phils’ offense went stagnant colllecting 3 other hits in the fourth inning but plating nothing.  The offense went stagnant for the game despite collecting 9 hits.  Marquis went six innings giving up 7 hits and 2 relievers shut the door on the Phils the rest of the way.  Nationals 1st baseman Adam Dunn, who may be lost to the Nationals via Free Agancy in the off-season, slammed a ninth inning leadoff walk-off homer off of reliever Jose Contreras as the Nationals edged the Phillies by a 2-1 score. 

On Wednesday, Joe Blanton followed Oswalt’s performance with a gem of his own.  Blanton threw 107 pitches in a seven inning 1 run, 3 hit effort.  Meanwhile, Phillies subs lit into lefthanded Nationals’ starter Ross Detwiler for 7 runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Leftfielder Ben Francisco had a huge game at the plate going 3 for 4 with 2 homers (in the second and fifth innings) and 3 RBIs.  1st baseman Mike Sweeney, subbing as Ryan Howard rested, went back-to-back with Francisco in the second inning and substitute outfielder  John Mayberry Jr. went 2 for 4 with a 3 run fourth inning homer.  3 Phil relievers went clean on Washington in the final 2 frames as the Phils pounded Washington by a 7-1 score to win 2 of the 3 games.

To view the AP recaps for Yahoo on both games, click here and here.

Wednesday’s recap indicates:

Joe Blanton (9-6) … [is] expected to be used as a reliever when the Phillies open the playoffs at home next Wednesday; they’ll use Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in a three-man rotation.

“If he doesn’t start, he’s very valuable in the bullpen because he throws strikes and he’s gutty,” Manuel said.

Although the Braves have been mathematically eliminated from the division race, they are still fighting for the NL Wild Card berth and are 2 games up on the San Diego Padres with their magic number at 2 games.  The Braves have incentive to fight hard against the Phils — the Wild Card berth as well as revenge for being caught and overtaken.  The Phils also have strong incentive to win this series — to finish the regular season winning going away and to maintain team momentum, along with the home field advantage into the division and league championship playoffs.

To view the scores of all Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games,  click here, here and here.

The Phils had a rest day on Thursday before travelling to Atlanta to take on the Wild Card probable Braves in a 3 game end of the regular season series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday, Kyle Kendrick opposes Atlanta’s rookie Brandon Beachy who went 4 1/3 innings giving up 3 runs in losing during the recent Phils sweep.   The Phils are undecided as to their starters on Saturday and Sunday while the Braves appear to be going with Tommy Hanson on Saturday and Tim Hudson on Sunday.

This blog will be periodic for the remainder of the regular season as the remaining 3 Phillies games will be anti-climatic with the Phils undoubtedly shuffling the lineup to rest regulars for the playoffs with a number of September call-up prospects starting in their places..

To view the schedule of all of all Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s games,  click here, here and here.

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Halladay’s 2 Hit Shutout of Nationals Clinches Phillies 4th NL East Crown

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

   Roy Halladay   Jayson Werth   Roy Halladay

Phillies rightfielder Jayson Werth went 3 for 5 with a second inning leadoff solo homer and 4 RBIs, 3rd baseman Placido Polanco and catcher Carlos Ruiz each went 3 for 4 driving in a run each as the Phils scored a run in the first inning, 3 runs in the sixth on Monday KO’ing Washington lefthander  John Lannon, and 4 more runs in the ninth off of former Phil prospect Joe Bisenius.  Staff ace Roy Halladay really only needed that first inning run as  Halladay tossed a masterful 97 pitch complete game 2 hit 8-0 shutout of the Nationals while the Phillies clinched their 4th straight NL East crown.

With the Phils winning the division title, the Atlanta Braves are now tied with the San Diego Padres for the NL Wild Card spot with the Colorado Rockies now 4 1/2 games behind.  The magic number for either the Braves or Padres is 7 games.

The celebration in the Phils lockerroom was wild after the game and their ace “The Doc” Roy Halladay was at the very center of it being doused with bubbly Champagne by rightfielder Jayson Werth.  This will be Halladay’s first trip to the post-season in his 12 year career.

Halladay was masterful, by any measure, on Monday against the Nationals — even though they are last in the division and undoubtedly will lose over 90 games.  It was Halladay’s 4th shutout, including the perfect game against Florida, and his 9th complete game of the season.  And Werth led the offense with his second inning leadoff solo shot as well as a 2 run double in the sixth off of Lannon and an RBI single in the ninth knocking in the Phillies 8th and final run.

For the game highlights, click here for the AP recap for Yahoo.

To view the scores of all Monday’s games, click here.

In Tuesday’s game 2, the other Roy, Roy Oswalt faces Jason Marquis for the Nationals.  Marquis lasted but 1/3 of an inning in his previous start against the Phils.

This blog will be periodic for the remainder of the regular season as the remaining 5 Phillies games will be anti-climatic with the Phils undoubtedly giving exposure in the lineup to a number of September call-up prospects while resting regulars for the playoffs.

To view the schedule of all Tuesday’s games, click here.

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Phillies Lose to Mets in Final Home Game, NL East Magic Number is 1

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The Mets jumped on Phillies starter Cole Hamels for a run in the first inning, 3 runs in the third and a run in the fifth on Sunday as Hamels gave up solo shots to 3rd baseman David Wright in the first and centerfielder  Carlos Beltran in the fifth as the Mets played spoilers, of sorts, for the 2nd game in a row.  Beltran had 2 homers in the game belting a ninth inning shot off of reliever Ryan Madson.  The Phils got close in the fifh on 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s 3 run homer off of Mets starter Pat Misch who showered early after Utley’s homer going only 4 2/3 innings for a no-decision.  But Utley’s shot brought the only scoring which the Phils would generate despite other opportunities in the first, fourth, sixth and eighth innings.  Beltran’s ninth inning shot brought insurance as the Phillies lost to Mets by a 7-3 score in their final home game of the regular season as the NL East magic number dropped to 1 game.

The Phils 1st place lead in the NL East remained at 6 games over Atlanta as the Braves also lost the final of their weekend series with Washington.  Meanwhile, the Braves dropped to 1/2 game behind the San Diego Padres in the NL wildcard race with the Colorado Rockies trailing by 3 1/2 games.

The AP game recap for Yahoo notes Hamels’ problems:

The Mets roughed up Cole Hamels (12-11) again. Hamels allowed five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, falling to 0-4 against New York this year. The lefty had been dominant recently. He gave up just four runs in his previous six starts, a span of 43 2-3 innings.

“Just one of those days where I wasn’t able to locate and be consistent,” Hamels said. “Sometimes it happens. With the way I’ve been pitching, I know I can correct it and get it back on track.”

Manny Acosta (3-1) tossed 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Mets starter Pat Misch had a 5-0 lead going into the fifth, but couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings to remain 0-4.

Trailing 5-0 in the fifth, the Phillies got back in it when Utley went deep with two outs to cut the deficit to two runs.  Ryan Howard followed with a double, chasing Misch.

A pair of outstanding defensive plays by Mets outfielders saved two runs. Beltran made a diving grab on pinch-hitter  Ross Gload’s drive to left-center to leave a runner on third in the sixth. Left fielder Nick Evans made a sliding catch on Howard’s shallow fly to strand a runner at second in the seventh.

Jimmy Rollins, sidelined since Sept. 8 with a hamstring injury, got a standing ovation when he came up as a pinch hitter representing the tying run in the eighth. He grounded out against Elmer Dessens to end the inning.

And so the Phils’ on-again, off-again offense continues leaving it’s pitching staff of aces little margin for error.  Hamels went 45 2/3 innings giving up only 6 runs for an approximate 1.20 ERA prior to Sunday’s third inning.  In reality, he’s had 3 bad games since May and should easily have had at least 5 more wins.  The offense badly needs to come around for the playoffs for the Phils to make it to the October Big Show.

To view the scores of all Sunday’s games, click here.

Ace and 20 game winner Roy Halladay is opposed by lefthander John Lannon for the Nationals.

To view the schedule of all Monday’s games, click here.

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Phillies Split Weekend Games With Mets, NL East Magic Number is 2

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

The Phillies won their series opener on Friday with the Mets scoring single runs off of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the first, second and fourth innings as centerfielder Shane Victorino led off the first with a homer and doubled in another run in the second inning.  After Mets rightfielder Angel Pagan slammed a 2 run homer in the fourth off of Joe Blanton, catcher Carlos Ruiz singled in the winning run in the Phillies fourth.   Blanton bested Dickey by pitching a 7 inning gem outside of the homer.  Reliever Ryan Madson went clean on the Mets in the eighth on 10 pitches and closer Brad Lidge shut them down in the ninth to earn his 27th save in 32 opportunites as the Phils edged the Mets by a 3-2 score. 

With 2 outs in the first inning of Saturday’s game 2, 2nd baseman Chase Utley laced a single to left centerfield and 1st baseman Ryan Howard followed by slamming a 2 run centerfield homer off of 24 year old rookie  Dillon Gee to give the Phils a 2-0 lead.   That was it for Phillies scoring as Gee and 3 Met relievers held them to 3 hits while walking 2 the rest of the way.  Kyle Kendrick breezed thru the 1st six innings giving up but 3 hits before the roof crashed in the seven as the Mets sent 9 men to the plate off of Kendrick and reliever Chad Durbin while scoring 5 runs on 5 hits.   J.C. Romero and David Herndon held off the Mets in the eighth and ninth innings as the Phils offense did a swoon after the first inning and the Mets took game 2 from the Phillies by a 5-2 score breaking the Phils’ 11 game winning streak.

The Phils 1st place lead in the NL East remained at 6 games over Atlanta as the Braves also split their weekend series with Washington.  Meanwhile, the Braves fell into a NL wildcard race tie with the San Francisco Giants, while the 2 teams maintained a 3 1/2 game lead over the Colorado Rockies.

For the AP recaps for Yahoo on Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.

To view the scores of all Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and  here.

In Sunday’s series final and final Phillies home game of the regular season, two lefthanders oppose each other.  Cole Hamels opposes Pat Misch.   The Phils next travel to Washington for 3 games with the Nationals followed by the 3 final games of the regular season in Atlanta.

To view the schedule of all Sunday’s games, click here.

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