Tag:Roy Halladay
Posted on: October 28, 2010 11:14 pm

Giants demolish Rangers in Game 2

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers, one night after watching Cliff Lee get hammered, could not even raise (Matt) Cain and now head back to Texas in a deep hole.

Their first World Series threatening to get away from them, the Rangers were dropped 9-0 by the Giants thanks to a wicked combination of Matt Cain's continuing postseason brilliance, one jaw-droppingly bad break, a couple of missed opportunities and another searing bullpen meltdown.

Bottom line is, the Rangers are in trouble unless they figure out this masterful Giants pitching. You can rip the Texas bullpen if you wish -- and you should -- but San Francisco pitching is shredding this Texas lineup like wet toilet paper.

Anybody who's not yet ready to give San Francisco's pitchers full credit, maybe you'd better go back to whatever it was you were doing before this postseason caught your attention.

We've heard a whole lot about Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia, but behind Cain, Tim Lincecum and the rest, the Giants take a back seat to nobody.

Cain entered the game as the first pitcher to not allow an earned run in either of his first two postseason starts since Atlanta's Steve Avery in 1991. He departed after 7 2/3 innings having not allowed a run in his first THREE postseason starts.

The Rangers went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position against Cain, who now is up to 21 1/3 scoreless postseason innings. Think October agrees with this young man? Opponents now are 0 for 17 against him this postseason with runners in scoring position. He's produced more bagels than Einstein's the past three weeks.

And the one time the Rangers thought they had him, well, that's where the jaws dropped. Ian Kinsler slugged a deep fly to center to start the fifth that appeared to be gone. But in an impromptu test of gravity, physics and geometry, the ball bounced off the top of the wall, and somehow angled itself off the padding to bounce backward toward center fielder Andres Torres.

Instead of a homer and a 1-0 Texas lead, Kinsler got a double. Then he got left at second when David Murphy, Matt Treanor and C.J. Wilson were mowed down behind him (Mitch Moreland was intentionally walked before Wilson grounded out).

The Giants broke the scoreless tie with Edgar Renteria's solo homer in the fifth, tacked on a run in the seventh after Wilson left with a blister and then turned it into a laugher with seven runs in the eighth against four 'B'-league level Rangers relievers with manager Ron Washington inexplicably slow to the switch.

Now, it's tough to tell which needs a change of venue more, the Texas Rangers or this World Series.

We'll get one for Game 3, back in Texas on Saturday. But unless the Rangers figure a few things out, this Fall Classic is destined for all the drama of a Saturday afternoon oil change.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:11 pm

Farrell has what Jays need: Pitching knowledge

The Toronto Blue Jays interviewed something like six dozen candidates to replace Cito Gaston as manager ... and they wind up hiring a man who has managed nothing other than pitching staffs during his coaching career?

Moving to hire John Farrell as skipper is either going to be young general manager Alex Anthopoulos' most brilliant move yet ... or a crashing disaster.

In the AL East, with a Blue Jays team that fared better than expected post-Roy Halladay in 2010, there will not be any in-betweens.

As Boston's pitching coach the past four seasons, Farrell was the typical genius when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 and, well, not-so-genius in 2010, when most every pitcher other than Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz under-performed.

Still, he's got a strong background in player development in Cleveland, he helped develop young arms like Lester and Buchholz in Boston and that's exactly what the Blue Jays want. Even in the post-Halladay days, they've got a strong nucleus of young pitchers, guys like Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek.

Anthopoulos is overseeing Toronto's latest rebuilding project, and based on the Blue Jays' 85-77 finish in 2010, fourth in the AL East, it's moving along more quickly than anticipated.

But here's the key: Toronto, over the next two or three seasons, will move as far as those aforementioned pitchers will take it.

If they stay healthy and continue to progress, the Blue Jays may finally get over the hump and climb back into the upper reaches of the AL East.

If too many of those pitchers flat-line, then all 2010 was for Toronto was one more mirage.

I like that Anthopoulos is thinking outside the box, so to speak. No, Farrell does not have any managerial experience. Yes, he knows pitching. And given where the Jays are, and that the game is returning to an emphasis on pitching, this has a chance to be one of Toronto's wisest moves yet.

Time was, former big league pitchers were looked upon skeptically as future managers. But look at what Bud Black is doing in San Diego. That perception is beginning to change.

Obviously, it is imperative that Toronto hires a bench coach who has been a manager, a wise old coot who knows strategy and rules. That's the type of guy who can help Farrell, with his knowledge of pitching, make a major difference as the Blue Jays look to soar.

Posted on: October 16, 2010 5:31 pm

Hangin' in weight room with Halladay -- or not

Roy Halladay's work ethic is legendary, to the point where even the Phillies couldn't believe their first impression.

Halladay's regular spring training routine was to arrive in the weight room in Clearwater, Fla., by 5:30 or 5:45 a.m. By the time most of the rest of the Phillies arrived at 7:30 or 8, Halladay was finished with that part of his day and on to something else.

When I visited the Phillies' camp, a couple of players talked about how this was a perfect example of his competitiveness. A coach told me it isn't that, it's just that Halladay is so focused on what he's doing that he did not want to share the weight room equipment. As he moves through his circuit, he wants what he wants when he wants it.

Whatever, his near-maniacal zeal was legendary in Toronto, and it's already the stuff of legend in Philadelphia.

"We had some guys try to latch on and stay with him this spring," pitching coach Rich Dubee said Friday before the Phillies worked out in preparation for Game 1. "That lasted a short period.

"If you're going to try and stay with him, you'd better start in the off-season."

No kidding.

One of those who experimented with the early-bird special in the weight room with Halladay this spring was fellow starter Cole Hamels.

"I did that one time, I think," Hamels said, chuckling. "I realized it was insanity.

"I had a newborn. I needed every ounce of sleep I could get. He would get there at 5:30, I was waking up at 5:30. That means he was waking up at 4:30."

Likes: Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum to start the NLCS playoffs. What fun. ... I don't think we've heard enough of this Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira as former Rangers story. I think we'll hear much more of it before this ALCS is finished. ... Tweet of the Day, and I had to pass this one alone, from ESPN baseball writer Jorge Arangure late Friday night when the Rangers blew the 5-0 lead to the Yankees in the eighth inning with a certain former President and Rangers owner in attendance: "I bet George W Bush authorized a sign that read "Mission Accomplished" after the 7th inning." ... The Conan O'Brien ads they're papering the house with during the playoffs are pretty funny. Which is no small thing, given how most ads they consistently blast at us start bad and quickly turn grating. ... Congratulations to the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons and Coach Jack Giarmo, who clinched another Huron League high school football title with Friday's 63-21 whipping of Milan. Excellent work to all as the tradition continues. Great job. ... Great run Saturday morning down Ben Franklin Parkway, past the Philadelphia Art Museum and along the Schuylkill River. Beautiful, especially the trees along the river. ... Geography lesson for the day: How do you pronounce "Schuylkill"? I admit, not being from the Philadelphia area, I didn't know. Until I checked with a bellman at the hotel when I returned: "Skoo-cull." ... John Lennon, still relevant on what would have been his 70th birthday the other day.

Dislikes: Bedbugs. I keep hearing about them. I've yet to see them.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"People asking questions lost in confusion
"Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
"Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind
"I tell them there's no hurry
"I'm just sitting here doing time"

-- John Lennon, Watching the Wheels


Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:44 am

Back outdoors, same result

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Teixeira slugged a bad Jesse Crain seventh-inning slider deep into the Minnesota night, high over the right-field fence, and the Target Field crowd went silent.

Just as you imagine the Metropolitan Stadium crowd did on Oct. 5, 1970, when pinch-hitter Rick Renick grounded to short to force Rich Reese at second in the ninth, allowing the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the Twins out of the ALCS.

The last time they played an outdoor playoff game in the Twin Cities.

The to-be-continued part following Renick's grounder, when the October outdoor baseball chapter of Twins' history resumed, picked back up with Twins starter Francisco Liriano fanning Derek Jeter to start Game 1 of the Twins-Yankees latest Divisional Series tussle here.

It was a gorgeous fall night, 63 degrees at game-time, shirt-sleeves weather for much of the evening.

But much like that old Metropolitan Stadium crowd from 1970, these Twins fans went home disappointed, too.

Of course, they've seen it before against the relentless Yankee machine.

"We play nine innings," New York shortstop Derek Jeter said of another comeback, this one after the Yanks trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning. "It's what you have to do. Whether you're ahead of behind, it's what you have to do."

Likes: Watching Roy Halladay was electric even from several hundred miles away. ... Perfect autumn day in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Temperature around 70, gold leaves, textbook fall weather. ... Great noon-time run on a path along the Mississippi River. ... Former pitcher Jack Morris on the field before the game telling stories. ... Derek Jeter eating at Murray's home of the "Silver Butter Knife Steak" on Tuesday night, the eve of Game 1.

Dislikes: No expanded instant replay for these playoffs. Delmon Young's two-out single in the ninth should have been an out -- television replays showed that Greg Golson, inserted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi as a defensive sub for Nick Swisher in the ninth inning, made a diving catch on Young's sinking liner. Umpires wrongly awarded Young a single which, in a 6-4 game, could have been problematical. But Jim Thome popped up the next pitch to third and the game was over. Had Thome deposited a game-tying, two-run homer against the Yankees, you wouldn't have heard the end of this debate for weeks. And being that it came against the Yankees, I guarantee expanded instant replay would have been put in place well ahead of next season's playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"From Mankato up to Brainerd
"From Burnsville to Bemidji
"Now we're playing outdoor baseball
"And that's the way it should be"

-- The Baseball Project with Craig Finn, Don't Call Them Twinkies

Posted on: July 13, 2010 8:39 pm

Setting the stage at the All-Star Game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A few things as we get set for the 81st All-Star Game:

-- National League pitching plans: Florida's Josh Johnson and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay will follow starter Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. After that, manager Charlie Manuel plans to review the game situation, see where the AL lineup is and go from there. With lefties Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and Carl Crawford hitting 7-8-9, you could see one of a couple of lefty relievers, Hong-Chih Kuo or Arthur Rhodes if the situation dictates.

-- AL pitching plans were unclear as for who would follow Tampa Bay's David Price to the hill. But in Price, Texas' Cliff Lee, Boston's Jon Lester and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte, the AL is loaded with lefties. Which could mean right-handers Justin Verlander and Phil Hughes will be interspersed with them.

-- Boston's David Ortiz on the legacy of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner: "Unbelievable. When you give a team that many dreams, that many possibilities to win, that's something you've got to respect no matter what."

-- This is how stacked the AL is: Mauer, last year's MVP, is hitting seventh. Last time he did that? "The minor leagues," Mauer said. His reaction to hitting seventh? "Where do you want to put everybody?" Mauer said. "Somebody's gotta bat down there."

-- The pressure is on Padres closer Heath Bell if he pitches late in a close game. San Diego has provided three of the past four losing pitchers: Bell last year, Chris Young in 2007 and Trevor Hoffman in 2006.

-- Atlanta's Omar Infante, the most unlikely of All-Stars, is having a ball. His favorite moments? Tuesday afternoon in NL clubhouse, and Monday watching the Home Run Derby on the field, holding his one-year-old son, taking as many photos as he could. As for the game? "It's very important," said Infante, whose Braves are in position to benefit if the NL can win home-field World Series advantage. "Everybody's psyched."

-- The turf is in good shape here in Angel Stadium. But it almost was in even better shape. The rock band U2 was scheduled to play Angel Stadium in early June, after which the contract called for new sod to be laid at Angel Stadium. Instead of a new playing surface, however ... well, Bono underwent emergency back surgery, U2 canceled its tour and the turf remains the same.

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.


Posted on: April 5, 2010 1:41 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 7:20 pm

Halladay the Phillie

Roy Halladay had barely set foot into the National League on Monday when the Nationals sent him a tell-tale sign that he's no longer in the AL East.

Then, Halladay sent word that he really could care less, thank you very much.

On Halladay's first two pitches, Nats speedster Nyjer Morgan poked a single  -- and then swiped second base. Five pitches after that, Ryan Zimmerman boomed an opposite-field, RBI double. And two batters later, Halladay walked Josh Willingham.

For a pitcher who sets a goal of fewer walks than games started each year, it was rough waters.

Which just goes to show you: Even the best pitcher in the game isn't invincible. Whether it was Opening Day, President Obama's appearance or the Nationals' approach -- maybe a bit of all of the above -- Halladay's Philadelphia debut was memorable after only one inning. 

Not surprisingly, though, by the end of Philadelphia's 11-1 rout of the Nationals, he made it memorable for all the same reasons he made so many nights in Toronto memorable.

That noise in the first was the last anybody heard from the Nationals. Halladay breezed through seven innings, holding the Nats to that one run while scattering six hits. He fanned nine and walked two, and his ERA after one NL start stands at a tidy 1.29.

That already miniscule ERA will be worth watching. Facing weaker lineups than he faced in the AL, there is every reason to believe that Monday's start will be step one for Halladay toward winning his second Cy Young award.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 4:08 pm

Beckett: Four more years (in Boston)

Fresh from their Opening Night pounding of the dreaded Yankees, the Red Sox this afternoon formally will announce a contract extension for ace Josh Beckett, $68 million over four years.

As colleague Danny Knobler chuckled when we talked not long ago, not bad for a pitcher with a 9.64 ERA. That's where Beckett's stands now after the Yankees clubbed him for five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Sunday night.

In all seriousness, though, the larger meaning of this beyond New England's boundaries is that it continues to emphasize the most important thing in today's game: You'd better build your team with young pitching, because less and less of it is available on the free agent market. At least, fewer impact pitchers are getting out there.

Beckett and Roy Halladay each was supposed to be a free agent next winter. Not now: The Sox have locked up Beckett, and the Phillies over the winter acquired Halladay from Toronto then signed him to a three-year, $60 million deal.

Two other key pitchers had their free agency delayed over the past several months, too, with Detroit signing Justin Verlander to a five-year, $80 million extension and Seattle signing ace Felix Hernandez to a five-year, $78 million deal in January.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com