Roy Halladay(notes) is well established as one of baseball’s best pitchers, but after spending 12 years without a trip to the postseason in Toronto, he’s hoping he can change that with the Philadelphia Phillies.
While October is a long way off, he can cross another first off his list Tuesday night.
Halladay’s 295th career start will be his first in his hometown of Denver, where he’ll look to become the majors’ first pitcher to seven wins as the Phillies and Rockies continue a three-game set.
Halladay (6-1, 1.45 ERA) didn’t sniff the postseason with the Blue Jays, but Philadelphia (20-12) acquired him to have an ace to turn to in the playoffs.
If he keeps pitching as well as he has in his first seven NL starts, the Phillies figure to have a great chance of making it to a third consecutive World Series. Halladay followed up a three-hit shutout of the Mets on May 1 by holding St. Louis to two runs - one earned - over seven innings Thursday, striking out nine in a 7-2 win.
“He’s our top pitcher and I wanted to know where he was at,” Manuel said. “He said, “I’m fine. I can get this guy. I want him.”
Halladay faced the Rockies (15-17) once in Toronto, tossing a two-hit shutout June 7, 2002, but he’s never pitched at Coors Field after growing up in Arvada, just northwest of Denver.
One current Rockies player has had a fair amount of success against the former Cy Young Award winner. Jason Giambi(notes) is a .314 hitter in 70 career at-bats versus Halladay, and only Boston’s David Ortiz(notes) has homered more times (six) than Giambi (four) has against him.
Perhaps that will earn him another start at first base Tuesday, particularly considering Giambi had three hits and three RBIs Monday after starting the season 2 for 22.
“Hopefully this will kind of jump-start me a little bit,” said Giambi.
Giambi’s performance, though, wasn’t enough for Colorado to keep pace with the Phillies’ offense in the opener. Carlos Ruiz(notes) homered and his fourth hit broke a ninth-inning tie, while Ross Gload’s(notes) three-run shot gave Philadelphia some insurance in a 9-5 victory.
“The last couple of years I was fighting myself,” said Ruiz, who’s hitting .354 after batting .255 in 2009. “This year Charlie got me to relax and you see what has happened.”
Cook went the distance in his last home start, an 8-1 victory over Florida on April 24, but is 0-1 with an 8.18 ERA in his last two outings. He gave up five runs over five innings Wednesday at San Diego, though Colorado rallied to win 6-5 in 12 innings.
Cook is 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA in eight career starts against the Phillies.