Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Famer and Baseball Hall of Famer Roy Halladay made two very memorable starts on this day in team history.
On April 5, 2010, after President Obama threw out the first pitch, Halladay made his Phillies debut at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. Halladay didn’t disappoint, nor did the two-time defending National League Champion Phillies.
Across seven frames, Halladay struck out nine batters, and limited the Nationals to six hits and one run:
What’s more, the Phillies chased future Phillie John Lannan after just 3.2 innings, posting seven hits and plating five runs. The Phillies would go on to score 11 runs in an opening day beatdown of the Nationals.
While Halladay was making his Phillies debut, Placido Polanco actually shined the most in his return to the Phillies after signing a three-year/$18 million free-agent deal in the offseason. Polanco went 3-6 with a home run and six RBIs, while hitting in between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Ryan Howard also homered and drove in two runs.
Two years later, Halladay got the ball again on April 5, which happened to be opening day in Pittsburgh. Halladay didn’t get the same type of run support that he had exactly two years prior, but that forced him to deliver one of the last great starts of his illustrious career.
2012 would go down as the season where Halladay really hit a wall physically, but in his first start since the infamous Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, Halladay was dominant. Across eight innings, Halladay allowed just two hits and struck out five. He needed just 92 pitches to complete eight scoreless frames before handing the ball off to Jonathan Papelbon, who closed out a 1-0 victory at PNC Park in his first appearance as a Phillie. For as much as it feels like Halladay and Papelbon played for the Phillies in two different eras, they were teammates in 2012 and 2013.
It’s funny, the 2012 Pirates lineup that Halladay faced that day had quite a bit of Phillies connections. Andrew McCutchen, who would finished third in National League MVP voting in 2012, hit third for the Pirates on April 5, 2012. He would go 0-3, though he did reach base after being hit by a pitch. Neil Walker, who is currently a non-roster invitee for the Phillies, hit cleanup for the Pirates on opening day. Rod Barajas, who spent the 2007 season with the Phillies, was the Pirates starting catcher on opening day that season.
As we wait for baseball to return, it gives a chance to reflect on Halladay’s brilliance. And April 5 was just one of the many days on the calendar where he dominated for the Phillies.
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