Best game ever for Doc? Lidge says so
Oct 21, 2010 at 1:00a ET
Brad Lidge has seen Roy Halladay pitch some pretty good games over the years.
The two Phillies pitchers have known each other since their high school days in the Denver area, back when Lidge’s Cherry Creek High School beat Halladay and Arvada West High School for the 1995 Colorado High School Activities Association Class 5 A title.
And, Lidge said, he can’t think of any game Halladay pitched that could be better than the one he pitched in the Phillies' 4-2 victory against the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
This is the same Roy Halladay who threw a perfect game at Florida back on May 29. It’s the same Roy Halladay who pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, and did it against a Cincinnati team that had the top-ranked offense in the National League. It’s the same Roy Halladay who led the majors with 21 regular-season wins.
And Lidge is going to put the spotlight on Halladay’s six-inning effort in which he threw 108 pitches and allowed 10 baserunners — six hits, including two doubles, and four walks?
"Might be his best," said Lidge, who recorded the final three outs Thursday for the save.
It was, after all, a six-inning effort in which it turned out Halladay pulled his right groin on the third pitch of the second inning en route to a strikeout of Cody Ross, who homered twice off Halladay in the Giants' 4-3, Game 1 victory at Philadelphia.
"He gutted it out," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "That was really big, and we needed him."
It was a six-inning effort that laid the foundation for the Phillies to fight off postseason elimination and force the NLCS back to Philadelphia for a Game 6 on Saturday with the Phillies hoping they can win that game to force a Game 7 on Sunday.
"When you think about the fact that we were facing win or go home, and he’s not 100 percent. …" said Lidge, shaking his head. "What’s more impressive than the way he competed and battled without having one leg under him. It’s not easy. His velocity was down (four to five miles per hour) but he made his pitches and got his key outs.
"All things considered, I’d say it is his best."
Halladay was far from perfect, but after falling behind 1-0 in the first, then suffering the injury in the second, he allowed the Giants only one more run, when Pat Burrell and Ross had back-to-back one-out doubles in the third.
He got out of the fourth when right fielder Jayson Werth threw out Ross trying to advance to third on a Pablo Sandoval fly ball to right. He escaped a first-and-third threat in the fifth by getting Aubrey Huff on a nubber in front of the plate.
And then, with two on and two out in the sixth, he ended his night of work by getting Juan Uribe to swing and miss at a 3-2 curveball.
Did Halladay think it was his best?
"Let’s just say it was definitely satisfying," Halladay said. "You’d rather not have to overcome (an injury), but when you do it's fun. You feel good because you helped the team win a game it needed to win."
That is what Halladay is all about.
That is why the Phillies sent Toronto a quality package of prospects during the offseason to acquire Halladay. They envisioned him as the ace of a rotation that would deliver the Phillies a second world championship in three years.
Right now, the Phillies' hopes are teetering. The Giants won three of the first four games in the best-of-seven series. Halladay, however, helped keep the Phillies' hopes alive with the win on Thursday, allowing the Phillies the comfort of knowing they are returning home for what remains in their showdown with San Francisco.
And that, said Halladay, is why the thought of coming out of the game after feeling the groin pull never entered his mind.
"I was going to find a way, and I was hoping it was a way that would be good enough," Halladay said.
The Phillies wouldn’t have expected anything else.
"Looking up at his velocity, I knew that he wasn’t throwing as hard (as normal)," said Werth, whose ninth-inning home run provided a two-run margin for Lidge to protect in earning the save. "You could tell there was something bothering him, but he’s a man. He goes out there and competes. He definitely wasn’t going to give up."
But then anyone who knows Halladay knows giving up isn’t an option in Halladay’s world.
"The thing you know about him from the start is how calm he is, how determined he is," Lidge said. "I know there are some people who don’t think he talks at all, but he does. He just doesn’t have a lot to say."
Halladay doesn’t have to say much.
The results, after all, speak for themselves.