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Phillies NLDS Game One Recap: Cliff Lee was good, but Roy Halladay was great

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Cincinnati Reds logo: http://metsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Reds.gif

Philadelphia Phillies logo: http://www.wondergy.com/art/logos/phillies_logo.gif

Cliff Lee's  seven inning, one-run, performance surely would have been the pitching gem of the playoffs in any other year. His Texas Rangers finished off the Tampa Bay Rays  5-1 in the first game of their series late Wednesday afternoon.

However, further up north there was a doctor in Philadelphia who was about to perform playoff surgery not seen since Don Larsen was in residence for the New York Yankees. Would Lee fare better than Halladay, the man who technically took Lee's spot in this Phillies' rotation, and whose name is so often linked with Lee  since being acquired by the Phillies last December?

Well as luck would have it, all Halladay did was no-hit a Cincinnati team that lead the National League in hitting. He had previously thrown a perfect game in May against the Marlins. In so doing, he became the first pitcher in National League pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs. The last time the Reds were no-hit? 1971. The team: You guessed it, the Fightin' Phils.

If not for a fifth inning walk to Jay Bruce, his night would have been as perfect as Larsen's fifty-four years ago. Halladay became only the second pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter. Don Larsen's 1956 World Series perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers is the only other post season no-hitter in post season history. Interestingly, Larsen finished his career with an overall record of 81-91.

 

There wasn't much to frown about at all today. However, a glaring weakness was the middle of the lineup: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth were a combined 0 for 11.

Even though the leading contender for the National League Cy Young only needed one run to win, the offense provided him with four runs. The was the first time in four years that the Phillies began the playoffs without a healthy starting lineup. Placido Polanco  sat out of the game due to back issues, and is listed as day-to-day.

Reds starter Edinson Volquez, surrendered all four runs and lasted only 1 2/3 innings. Travis Wood, one of three pitchers to follow Volquez, pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball. If the series goes to Game 4, Wood surely looks someone who could get the nod to start that game.

The other Roy (Oswalt), is scheduled to start Game 2 on Friday vs. Bronson Arroyo. Oswalt has a career record of 23-3 verses the Reds, beating them more than any team he has faced. He has never lost when starting a game in Philadelphia. Arroyo won 17 games for the Reds this season, but has a lifetime record of 1-5 against the Phillies, with an ERA north of five.

No word yet on those who expressed, prior to today's game, that Halladay might be affected by not having playoff experience. Possibly, those who were promoting that theory should consider being treated by a medical professional who has a specialty in “grasping at straws syndrome.” This condition, if left untreated, can grow rampant amongst those sports fans who know their team might be facing impending doom. It generally is prevalent in the autumn months of the baseball season.

After college, Sean O'Brien worked in the front office for the Phillies former Triple-A team in Scranton.  He went on to write professionally during the next few decades and is currently a teacher in the great state of Pennsylvania.  He can often be seen, with a variety of family and friends, in one of Philadelphia's great sports stadiums.

You can contact Sean at seanboru68@yahoo.com