Today marks the first day of the MLB Playoffs and to say it got off to a good start is an understatement. In the second game of today’s triple header, the Philadelphia Phillies faced the Cincinnati Reds. Roy Halladay, playing in the first playoff appearance of his career, got the start for the Phillies and he made the most of his debut. Taking the mound against one of the National League’s most productive offenses would be a daunting task to most pitchers, let alone a playoff first-timer. Halladay had no such problems.
Halladay threw nine innings of near perfect baseball against a Reds team that lead the NL in almost every offensive statistical category and recorded only the second postseason no-hitter in MLB history. The only other pitcher to throw a no-no in the playoffs was Don Larsen in 1956 for the New York Yankees. Larsen’s record stood for over 50 years until Halladay’s milestone today.
The Phillies pitcher is no stranger to throwing a flawless nine innings; he threw a perfect game earlier in the year against the Florida Marlins. In fact, Halladay could have had his second perfect game of the season if not for a walk in the fifth inning.
What makes this accomplishment even more important for the pitcher, is that it comes at the right time in the season. The Phillies 4-0 win gives them a 1-0 lead over the Reds in the National League Divisional Series. If possible, this year’s Phillies are even better than the 2009 team that was only games away from a second consecutive World Series victory before falling to the Yankees. The off season addition of Halladay sure makes a case that this year’s team might have what it takes to make it back to the World Series. And today’s victory seems like the start of a special playoff run for a team chasing their third league championship in as many years.
The Phillies’ chase will continue on Friday night when Roy Oswalt (another new face to the Phillies pitching staff) takes the mound against Bronson Arroyo, who won a World Series ring in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox. TBS will be airing all the divisional series playoff games this season.