Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Halladay Shuts Out Braves to Halt Skid

Coming of a disheartening loss to the Braves, their third straight, the Phillies needed a strong performance. And that is why they got Roy Halladay, who threw a complete game shutout to give the Phillies a 2-0 win.

Halladay was his usual dominant self, mowing down the Braves with the help of some superb defensive play. The Phillies gave him an early 1-0 lead thanks to back-to-back doubles from Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. And that was all Halladay needed. He cruised through the first few innings, though he nearly got burned by a deep drive off the bat of Troy Glaus. However, Shane Victorino made an outstanding catch at the wall, robbing a home run and preserving the lead.

The offense didn't do much damage at the plate, but they consistently worked counts on Braves starter Tim Hudson. Through five innings they only managed one run, but in the sixth Howard got things going. He hit a lead-off single and Werth followed with a double in the gap. Howard motored around the bases and scored all the way from first, allowing Werth to take third and putting the Phillies ahead 2-0.

However, the Braves would threaten later. In the seventh inning, the Braves started off with consecutive singles from Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. Halladay then struck Glaus out swinging, but walked Jason Heyward to load the bases. It looked like Halladay might finally prove himself to be human. In a way, he did. Yunel Escobar hit a sharp grounder up the middle, but Chase Utley made an excellent diving snare and flipped the ball to Juan Castro for an inning ending double play.

From there on out everything was under control. Halladay allowed a double in the eighth inning to no consequence, then retired the heart of the Braves lineup in order in the ninth, aided by a superb diving stop by Howard. And with that the Phillies snapped their losing streak and Halladay got his fourth win in as many starts. What more can we say about the guy? He's 4-0 with two complete games, one complete game shutout, and a 0.82 ERA.

The only blemish on the game was an injury to Placido Polanco. He was hit by a pitch in the first inning and would leave in the seventh, replaced by Wilson Valdez. The fact that he was able to play so much of the game before leaving means it can't be too serious, but still, with Rollins already out, it has to be a concern.

Regardless, it was another impressive showing by Halladay. Hopefully the rest of the pitching staff was taking notes.

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