Brilliant Halladay enjoys 'cool' moment
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Brilliant Halladay enjoys 'cool' moment
Bob Brookover, Inquirer Baseball Columnist
There is a difference between great moments and greatness.
Roy Halladay witnessed the former from one of the best spots in Citizens Bank Park Wednesday night and displayed the latter on the mound during the Phillies' 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins.
With the Phillies' offense finally showing some life in the bottom of the third inning against righthander Josh Johnson, rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis went to home plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Nobody could have predicted what happened next.
Chants of "Freddy, Freddy, Freddy," poured down on the rookie as he settled into the batter's box for the biggest at-bat of his nascent career.
After fighting off a couple of two-strike pitches from Johnson, Galvis delivered a two-run double that gave the Phillies a 5-1 lead and the chants began anew as the rookie stood on second base.
"It was cool," Halladay said. "I had a pretty good view from the on-deck circle, and I was glad he got the hit. I think in a lot of ways, the fans here, as much as you hear about them booing players ... to go up there and have them chanting your name like that and then to have him come through, it was really cool, and that's something he'll always remember. It says a lot about the fans we have right now that they were supporting him."
Halladay was asked what it felt like the first time he heard a crowd chanting his name like that.
"I'm still waiting," he said.
"Roy, Roy, Roy," just does not have a good ring to it.
Everything Halladay does on a pitcher's mound, on the other hand, has an air of brilliance about it and this cold April night was no different.
Some nights greatness comes in the form of a perfect game or a postseason no-hitter. Those are the games for the ages.
Some nights, greatness comes in the form of seven innings when it appears after three that you might not make it through five.
That's the kind of brilliance Halladay displayed in winning for the second time in as many starts. He threw 23 pitches and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. He had logged 59 pitches after three innings and 95 after six, but he went back out in the seventh and retired the Marlins in order.
His final pitching line -- seven innings, five hits, one run, one walk and three strikeouts -- will not go down as the most memorable performance of his career or even this season. In fact, it wasn't as good as his opening-day effort in Pittsburgh.
Halladay and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel still admired the artist's work.
"I think I looked up in the third and I had thrown 60 pitches," Halladay said. "At that point, you'd be happy with six. After it's over, you're never happy with six. I think it's satisfying when you go through a game where you're scuffling to get through four or five innings because of the pitch count and you're able to get through six or seven innings.
"Sometimes that's as good as being able to pitch nine and pitch a full game because you're trying to save your bullpen as much as you can, especially once your team scores runs like that."
Manuel knows that great pitchers are still very good even when they do not have their best location or their full complement of weapons. Location, especially early in the game, was Halladay's enemy on this night.
"That shows you can stay focused and keep at it until you get it right," Manuel said. "You're not going to give in."
Halladay, in addressing the offensive struggles the Phillies faced through the team's first four games, also showed why he can be a leader even as a guy who only pitches every fifth day.
"I think we're a confident group, regardless of what's out there," he said. "I know after the first few games, the offense was taking some heat, so I think it's good, especially against a good pitcher, to go out and score runs. It showed that it's there. We're not going to score seven every night, but we don't need to score seven every night."
Especially when Halladay is the man on the mound.