“Bad Baseball” and “Time to Panic?”.
If you are reading this blog, you can see that those are the titles of the last two Phillies posts.
After a two-game winning streak to start off a week-long road trip, the Phillies have now lost the last four straight, including a sweep by hands of the Atlanta Braves, and now find themselves a season-high 2.5 games back of first place in the NL East.
In this case, a third straight post with a negative connotation attached to it might be a bit too much.
So, instead of taking out my feelings of anger, frustration, and utter confusion out on you readers, I am going to finish a post that I started a couple days ago, but will be posted now to boost the overall spirit of the Phillies section of this blog (as my negativity is bound to become contagious).
Yes, that would be Roy Halladay’s perfect game, the most recent moment of positivity attached to the Philadelphia Phillies (four days ago, sad).
After virtually trading away their entire farm system to capture the rights to one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past decade, the Phillies expected Roy Halladay to be good. To justify the trade, they prayed to the baseball gods that he would be great. They couldn’t have predicted, however, that he would be perfect.
On Saturday though, which seemed like a typical hot, muggy, South Florida summer night, Roy Halladay defined that simple, but yet unique element of perfection that is rarely seen around baseball circles.
From the first batter of the game to the last out, the opposing Florida Marlins were unable to muster up a run, a hit, or a base-runner. That’s right, 27 Marlins hitters up, 27 Marlins hitters down. 2 hours and 20 minutes later, Roy Halladay had just pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history.
Since this is a few days late, here are just a couple things about the first perfect game from a member of the Phillies since Jim Bunning in 1971.
First off, Halladay not only was perfect, he was dominant. Perfection and dominance don’t always coincide with each other (Look at Mark Buerhle’s 2009 Perfect game for that) with these type of games, but in this case, they definitely went hand-in-hand. Halladay had season-high 11 strikeouts, found himself in only three 3-ball counts, and besides a superb play by Wilson Valdez to gun out Florida’s speedy OF Cameron Maybin from deep in the hole at short to close out the sixth inning, the perfect game never really seemed in jeopardy. The game was in his control from the first batter, and 115 pitches, his dominance depicted history.
Second off, and it’s sad, but the Phillies needed Halladay to be that good on Saturday night. Going into the game, the Phillies were averaging .8 runs per game in their last eight contest. That’s right, not even a run a game. That’s almost comical, even if you are a Phillies fan.
Anyway, they obviously continued down the swirling spiral of offensive futility on Saturday, as the offense was only able to manage one run (which was of course unearned) off of Marlins ace Josh Johnson. That may make the perfect game even more of an accomplishment though, as Halladay not only had to deal with all the superstition and pressure that comes with a perfect game for a pitcher, but a close game with a division rival to boot.
Lastly, it was good to see the defense show up for a Roy Halladay start. In Doc’s four previous starts, the Phillies defense had committed 10 errors, a nice little average of 2.5 per game. On Saturday, they obviously committed none, and look what happened.
Field the ball + Catch the ball+ Throw the Ball= Perfect Game.
As simple as it sounds, right?
History is history though. No one will ever be able to take away the nine innings that went on Saturday night in South Florida. However, if the Phillies continue their most recent play, people just may not remember it, as they collapse that fueled the demise of a potential dynasty will undoubtably overshadow one of the greatest accomplishments in professional sports.
Hopefully, for Halladay and the Phillies, that won’t happen.
SIDENOTE: A win from the Orange and Black tonight would really sooth the souls of the Philadelphia faithful who are still reeling from the sweep by the Braves, including my own.
LET’S GO FLYERS!!