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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Doc Halladay's Magical Elixir, a Tonic for All Phillies' Fans

So a funny thing happened on the way to Roy Halladay's first post-season appearance.

He threw a no-hitter (his second of the season).

79 strikes, 25 balls, 104 pitches, only 1 walk, only a few three-ball counts. He got the best hitting lineup in the National League to miss a lot. After the game, one of the things that Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel said, was "that was great managing, wasn't it?"

It sure was.

I had never watched a no-hitter before. In 1983, I almost went to Oakland A's final home game of the season, when Mike Warren pitched a no-hitter (it had rained all day and was miserable, so I opted to stay home). In 1990 I had tickets to the Phillies for a mid-week game in August, only to be out of town on business. Terry Mulholland threw a no-hitter that night.

But today I left work early, got home, and became entranced. Here were the Phillies -- the source of much frustration and some joy during my youth -- and they were no-hitting a team in the playoffs. And their ace -- a future Hall of Famer -- was doing it.

And he made it look easy.

Now, of course, the Reds might come out loaded for bear in the second game and send Roy Oswalt to the showers early, or, Oswalt might come back and, in competition with Halladay, throw a second no-hitter. Then again, the Phillies' hitters could send Bronson Arroyo packing early too. That's why they play the games, and the Phillies want to avoid the agony of a letdown by honoring Halladay's victory with another one.

But what a magical night. First game of the playoffs, game's at home, and the faithful get rewarded with a masterpiece.



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