Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NLDS Game 1: Reds at Phillies

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citizens Bank Park hosts Game 1 between the Reds and Phillies.
The road to the National League pennant has gone through Citizens Bank Park each of the last two seasons, and it will go through there again this month. Until someone proves they can beat the Phillies, no one can. And, as if Charlie Manuel's club wasn't talented enough in 2008 and 2009, now they've added Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt to a rotation that already includes World Series MVP Cole Hamels.

Halladay makes the first postseason start of his career this afternoon. That might faze some pitchers, but I just can't see this guy being scared of the spotlight. He had a fabulous season under the glare all season and will probably win NL Cy Young award honors for it. His counterpart today, Edinson Volzquez, has some of the best stuff in either league. But he pitched in only 12 games this season after coming back from Tommy John surgery, so the 27-year-old remains something of a work in progress. If Volquez is on, though, watch out.

The big pregame news out of Philly was the absence of Placido Polanco in the Phillies' lineup. The veteran third baseman, a huge contributor to the club this season, was scratched with tightness in his back. It's not believed to be serious, but it was serious enough to keep him out of the lineup today. We'll see what effect, if any, that has.

I'll try to share some thoughts along the way, and please continue the conversation with each other as well...

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 5:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Cloudy, 61 degrees
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Orlando Cabrera
1B Joey Votto
3B Scott Rolen
LF Jonny Gomes
RF Jay Bruce
CF Drew Stubbs
C Ramon Hernandez
P Edinson Volquez

SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
3B Wilson Valdez
P Roy Halladay
5:22 p.m. -- That didn't take long. Phillies lead 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Halladay cruised through the top of the inning, retiring the side on 10 pitches. Then Shane Victorino doubled, stole third and scored on Chase Utley's sac fly.

5:44 p.m. -- 2-0 Phillies in the bottom of the second thanks to Halladay's RBI single, and they've still got runners on first and third with two out.

5:54 p.m. -- Make it 4-0, still in the bottom of the second, after Victorino drove a single to center with the bases loaded. And that ends Volquez's day after only 1 2/3 innings. Wow.

6:20 p.m. -- 12 up, 12 down for Halladay. At what point is it appropriate to bring up Don Larsen's name?

6:38 p.m. -- Well, the perfect game is no longer in play after Halladay issued a two-out walk in the fifth. He has yet, however, to allow a hit through five innings. Phillies still lead 4-0.

6:45 p.m. -- So, I've finished my Stan Kasten story (you can read it on and I need to pack up and head home. So no updates for a little while. Hopefully, either Halladay gives up a hit while I'm in the car or the game doesn't end before I get home. (Though Mrs. Z assures me she's recording the game for me to watch just in case.)

8:03 p.m. -- Well, I didn't make it home in time. An accident on I-66 left me 10 minutes from getting home for the final out of the second no-hitter in postseason history. But I did get to listen to it on the radio, and I have to say, it was actually a pretty cool way to listen to history. I couldn't help but think to myself that this was how almost everyone listened to Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956: Let the announcers paint the picture for you and then imagine in your mind what it must have looked like. Now that I'm home, I've seen the final out on TV. It actually was a closer play than I pictured, and Brandon Phillips' bat came perilously close to touching the ball in fair territory before Carlos Ruiz picked it up and threw to first for the 27th out. Simply incredible.


A DC Wonk said...

Mark, anything of substance or of interest from Kasten's show this afternoon?

Mark Zuckerman said...

A DC Wonk: Yes, working on it right now. Story will be posted shortly.

Traveler8 said...

Unbelievable - or actually, believeable - not only is Halladay shutting them out, he's even getting his own RBIs.

swang said...

Phils in 2 on the mercy rule...

dryw said...

Kinda makes you feel better about the Nats' three-hit (or was it two) performance against Halladay a couple of weeks ago, huh? A play-off caliber team can't seem to hit him, either.

BethesdaFan said...

Mark -

My wife and I separately heard the Larsen game on the radio -- 9 years before we met and married.

Anonymous said...

This is a very cool thing ... I'm certainly no Phillies fan, but I've always been a Roy Halladay fan. Congratulations, Roy! Well done, "Doc."

John C.

JaneB said...

I can't believe I'm rooting for the Phillie! He is awe.some.


Jim Kurtzke said...

Mark, hope you got home in time to see the last couple innings of the game. If you're the Reds, how do you recover from that?

LoveDaNats said...

JaneB.....I'm with you! I found myself rooting for him to get that no-hitter. Doctober!

N. Cognito said...

Better than the perfect game. He walked at least three batters in his perfect game.

Knoxville Nat said...

N. Cognito said,

"Better than the perfect game. He walked at least three batters in his perfect game."

Say what? How can a "perfect game" include three walks?????

Feel Wood said...

"It actually was a closer play than I pictured, and Brandon Phillips' bat came perilously close to touching the ball in fair territory before Carlos Ruiz picked it up and threw to first for the 27th out."

If that had happened, it would have resulted in an interesting and possibly controversial call at the end, wouldn't it? I'm pretty sure the batter is automatically out if his bat touches the ball a second time. Too bad - in this year of umpire controversy it would have been quite appropriate to have this historic no-no end with an umpiring moment.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Feel Wood: Actually, it wouldn't have been an issue at all. I looked up the rule this morning about such plays -- it's Rule 6.05(h) -- and it states that if a batter drops his bat in fair territory and the ball touches it, the batter is only called out if the umpire determines he intentionally was trying to interfere with the play. Obviously Phillips wasn't trying to interfere yesterday, and the plate umpire did give a quick "safe" signal as Ruiz picked up the ball, indicating everything was clean.

markfd said...

Wow that was the greatest pitching performance not in a World Series game ever and against the offensive juggernaut that is the Reds...amazing, one of the top three postseason games of all time.

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