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Tag:Carlos Ruiz
Posted on: May 29, 2010 10:07 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2010 10:08 pm
 

Roy Halladay, Perfect Phillie

Roy Halladay blew through South Florida on Saturday night with hurricane force and a surgeon's precision. Perfect? It was an understatement.

The way Halladay was hitting the corners and moving the ball in and out, it's a wonder 16 Marlins even put the ball in play against Dominant Doc. Halladay struck out 11 and dazed everybody else. You will not see a pitcher more sharp than this.

"I don't know what to say," Halladay sputtered to Phillies' television analyst Gary Matthews seconds after the lights went out -- literally -- in whatever they're calling Florida's stadium these days.

It was the perfect visual.

The Marlins were clicking out the lights for a postgame Saturday night concert.

But Halladay beat them to it.

It is the first time in modern baseball history that two perfect games have been thrown in one season, let alone in one month. Halladay's perfecto, though, was nowhere near the surprise that Dallas Braden's Mothers Day masterpiece was. Not even close.

The only surprise here is that Halladay has been pitching more than a decade and hadn't yet thrown a perfect game. Or a no-hitter. Or started more than one All-Star Game.

His years of taking a backseat to Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez or anybody else in the game have long since been over.

It's just that, because Halladay was buried up in quiet, out-of-the-way Toronto for the past decade, lots of people were late to pick up on it.

As 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels said this spring during Halladay's first few days with the Phillies, "Roy Halladay is the greatest pitcher in the big leagues. To be able to see how much he goes the distance. You envy a guy who pitches nine, 10 complete games every year. It's so unheard of in this day and age."

Saturday's already was Halladay's fifth complete game, more than twice as many as any other pitcher in the majors. Nobody else has more than two.

As he was closing in on Saturday's masterpiece, Halladay opened the seventh by punching out slumping Chris Coghlan on a 91 m.p.h. cutter away, then closed it by punching out batting champion Hanley Ramirez on a 92 m.p.h. cutter in at the knees. In-between he threw a full-count curveball -- curveball! -- to induce a harmless pop fly to left from Gaby Sanchez.

That's one snapshot of what the Marlins faced all night. Plate umpire Mike DiMuro's strike zone was liberal, he was calling pitches two or three inches off the plate at times. Didn't matter. Halladay was the Invisible Man on this night. The Marlins weren't going to touch him.

Besides, DiMuro's zone worked great for Florida starter Josh Johnson, too. And Johnson was very, very good -- the game's only run scored when center fielder Cameron Maybin butchered Chase Utley's long fly ball to center in the third, allowing Wilson Valdez to score from first.

But Halladay, whose closest previous brush to immortality came when he no-hit Detroit for 8 2/3 innings on Sept. 27, 1998, before Philadelphia-native Bobby Higginson broke it up, was as dazzling as a pitcher can be.

"We felt like we got in a good groove by the fifth or sixth," Halladay said, referring to himself and catcher Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz. "I was just following Chooch. I can't say enough about the job he did.

"By the fifth or sixth, it was a no-brainer. I was just following him."

Braden, and now Halladay. What a month for pitching. What a month for perfection.

"It was awesome," Halladay said. "I don't know what else to say."

No need. On this night, his slider, cut fastball and other weapons spoke for him.

Perfectly.

Posted on: November 3, 2009 2:39 am
 

Phillies expect Victorino to be OK

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Yankees already having lost center fielder Melky Cabrera (hamstring strain) for the duration of the World Series in Game 4, the Phillies came darn close to losing their center fielder for good in Game 5.

Shane Victorino apparently will survive to play another day, but the knuckle on his right index finger was swollen and purple late Monday night.

Still, he was relieved because when he was hit with an A.J. Burnett pitch in the first inning of Philadelphia's 8-6 Game 5 loss, he feared it was broken.

"The trainer looked at it and we were like, 'Oh no'," Victorino said. "When he hit me, I thought, 'Oh my gosh.'"

The Phillies X-rayed it in the second inning and determined that there were no fractures. Victorino determined he was good enough to keep playing, though manager Charlie Manuel replaced him with Ben Francisco in center field in the eighth inning.

Victorino didn't want to leave and, though he was already on the field when Francisco came out, he said it simply was a "mix-up" and he wasn't upset with Manuel for replacing him.

As for the finger, he said it bothered him more gripping the bat than throwing, though he added "it feels fine."

He also was sure Burnett was not intentionally throwing at him. Some questioned whether the Yankees right-hander might be given that Phillies pitchers have hit Alex Rodriguez with pitches three times in this series.

"During his at-bat, when he walked up [to the plate], he asked Carlos [Ruiz, Phillies catcher] how I was doing and said, 'I wasn’t trying to hit him,'" Victorino said. "For him to do that means a lot."

Victorino also said Burnett acknowledged him on the field as if to say, "Sorry."

"He looked over at me when I was at first base and he gave me a nod like, 'My bad'," Victorino said.

The Phillies' biggest worry now, of course, is whether it will worsen overnight. But with Tuesday's travel day, they get a break and Victorino gets an extra 24 hours to heal.

"Probably [Tuesday] his finger is going to be sore," Manuel said. "It's definitely not broken or didn't have a fracture. ... A couple of days it probably is going to be OK."

Posted on: February 18, 2009 2:17 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 2:28 pm
 

Charlie Manuel and his piece of history

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Remember all the controversy over what happened to the baseball from the final out of Boston's historic World Series win over St. Louis in 2004? When first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz went home with the ball and the Red Sox kicked up a fuss about wanting it back?

No such bickering from the gracious and generous Philadelphia Phillies.

Closer Brad Lidge and catcher Carlos Ruiz combined on the final out, Lidge throwing strike three past Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske.

Then they presented it to manager Charlie Manuel.

"Carlos and I were talking about what we were going to do with the ball," Lidge says. "Carlos was gracious all year, giving me the last-out ball from all of my saves."

This time, he didn't. And the duo's decision was unanimous.

And any regrets from Lidge four months later?

"No, Charlie deserves it," he says.

The baseball, however, still remains in an undisclosed location.

"I've got it. Don't worry about it," Manuel says, chuckling. "I've got it."

Where?

"I don't want to make a big deal out of it like Mientkiewicz."

Why? Is the manager afraid someone might take it from him?

"No," he says, chuckling. "They can't find it."

Likes: I don't blame Tampa Bay one bit for holding pitcher Scott Kazmir out of the World Baseball Classic this spring. Sorry, but if I'm a club exec and I have even one iota of concern about a player, I everything I can to keep him out of the WBC. ... Love a couple of New York tabloid headlines today in the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez press conference. From the New York Daily News: "Now Try Truth Serum." And from the New York Post: "We're With Stupid."

Dislikes: Are we all sick and tired of watching the 1,000th clip of the Alex Rodriguez press conference? We are? Let's all ignore it from here on out. Yeah, right, like that'll ever happen.

Sunblock Day: Yes, nice warm sun, but it's windy in Florida today, and the wind is carrying a bit of a chill. It's supposed to rain in these parts Thursday and drop the temps down to a high of 60 on Friday. Brrrr.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The lazy way they turned your head
"Into a rest stop for the dead
"And did it all in gold and blue and gray
"The efforts to allay your dread
"In spite of all you knew and said
"Were hard to see and harder still to say"

-- TV On The Radio, Halfway Home

 

 
 
 
 
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