Roy “Doc” Halladay wanted nothing more than to compete in the postseason, and following an offseason trade from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Philadelphia Phillies, he got his chance on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. And boy, did he make good.
Halladay tossed an absolute gem, no-hitting the National League’s best-hitting team in the regular season, the Cincinnati Reds, allowing but a single baserunner all night. A fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce was the only thing preventing Doc from securing a perfect game, and on average, he threw barely more than three balls per inning over the course of his complete game. As it stands, Halladay’s gem is only the second no-hitter in the history of the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the first in 54 years. Doc joins Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees, as the only hurlers to hold their opposition hitless in the postseason. And as if that wasn’t enough, Halladay also went 1-for-3 at the plate, slashing an RBI single to left field in the second inning.
Not only did Halladay hold the Reds hitless, the Cincinnati club struggled even to make solid contact against his pitches. Game commentators noted that there really wasn’t a single well-hit ball off him all night. Halladay’s intensity and focus are legendary, and he’s starting to reap the rewards of his dedication. His Game 1 effort was the second no-hitter of the season, as Doc threw a perfect game against the Florida Marlins on May 29.
The effort is yet another highlight of a spectacular season that many observers believe will land Doc the Cy Young award as the National League’s best pitcher. During the regular season, Halladay went 21-10 with 219 strikeouts against only 30 walks in 250.2 innings and posted a miniscule 2.44 ERA.