The Phillies celebrated Roy Halladay’s return with a pitching-dominated 3-2 win over the Dodgers, befitting of the ace of aces.
DOC MAKES HIS RETURN
– 42 days. 42 long days. While he was out, the Phillies went 15-27–the second worst winning percentage in baseball during that span. It was a long, dark road. But Roy Halladay finally returned to his rightful place on the mound tonight, and his results were positive.
– Halladay went five innings, striking out six and walking none. He ran into some trouble in the second, when four straight hits to start the inning led to a 2-1 Dodgers lead, and a jam with two on and nobody out. But Halladay caught a break when Utley caught a bloop pop up and turned it into a double play. Suddenly there was just a runner on second and two outs. He struck out the next hitter to escape with no further damage.
– Halladay’s velocity on his fastball hovered around 90-91 MPH the entire outing, and he had excellent movement on his pitches. He ran a few deep counts, but, for the most part, he looked very solid. On an 80-pitch pitch count, Doc was only able to go five innings. Under normal circumstances, he probably could’ve gone another inning or two before being lifted. He gave the team an opportunity to win the game, and that’s all you could ask of him.
BATS DO THEIR BEST TO SPOIL THE PARTY…
– The Phillies have a habit of making young pitchers with little experience look like Sandy Koufax. Tonight, they upheld that reputation. Stephen Fife, a 25-year old making his big league debut for the Dodgers, stymied the Phils’ bats for six innings. They’d muster just four hits and generally didn’t hit very many balls hard. Their lone run against the pre-rookie came in the first inning, but it was smooth sailing for him after that.
– PENCE SAVES THE DAY
– The Dodgers bullpen would hold the Phillies hitless in the seventh inning, but a golden opportunity presented itself in the eighth when Ronald Belisario loaded the bases with a walk and two HBPs. Trailing 2-1 and with two outs, Hunter Pence strolled to the plate in what could very well have been the Phillies last chance to score some runs. He would not waste it. His single up the middle, which was the Phillies’ only hit in the final three innings, plated two runs. It was a fantastic job by Pence to stay within himself, and drive the ball back up the middle. He came through with a huge, game-winning hit.
BULLPEN GETS SOME OUTS
– The bright spot of this game for the Phils was undeniably the pitching. Though the offense did enough to win, the pitching staff put forth a fantastic collective effort, worthy of a victory. With Roy Halladay unable to make it beyond the fifth inning, it was up to the Phillies bullpen to finish out the final four frames. A combination of Michael Schwimer, Jeremy Horst, Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon worked together to hold the Dodgers scoreless.
– Manuel worked matchups through the final four innings, but his most intriguing move was allowing Kendrick to start the eighth inning. The eighth has notoriously been a trouble inning for the Phils this season, and management is clearly looking for someone to fill the role. Kendrick would get two outs before surrendering a hit and prompting Manuel to bring in Bastardo to face Andre Ethier. Bastardo struck him out, and Manuel reaped the benefits of playing matchups.
– Papelbon slammed the door in the ninth.
– Confession: I wrote that last sentence before the bottom of the ninth even started. Like so many times before during this season, Pap didn’t make me regret it. You have to love that kind of dependability.
– The Phillies are now 1-38 when trailing after seven innings. It took 39 tries, but they finally got a comeback after the seventh inning.
– The Phillies have now won four games and two series in a row after losing their first game after the All Star break.