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07 October 2010

First Playoff No-Hitter since 1956

Remember when I said this was not the Year of the No-Hitter?  Just kidding… it is.  Roy Halladay made me look pretty smart last night when he pitched only the second no-hitter in post-season history.  After dominating the regular season (including throwing a perfect game), the only question remaining was how Roy Halladay would do in the playoffs, since he’d never been.  He answered that question emphatically.

(For the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game, check out that exact topic in our answers section.)

How big of a deal is this?  Huge!  The last guy to do this was Don Larsen for the Yankees in 1956.  It’s been 54 years and hundreds of playoff games since the last one.  To no-hit a playoff team is an amazing feat because, by definition, playoff teams are pretty good.  The Reds are full of offensive firepower, including MVP candidate Joey Votto.  To shut them down was a herculean feat to be sure. 
In most no-hitters there is a big play where the pitcher’s defense bailed him out by making a sliding catch or making a strong throw to get an out where they might not have been expected to.  In this case, though, Halladay was flat out dominant.  He walked Jay Bruce in the fifth inning, and didn’t look back after that.

Reds vs. Phillies Update (Phillies 1, Reds 0):

The Reds get a day off to lick their wounds before Game 2 on Friday night.  Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo (a Red Sox World Champion in 2004) will face Roy 2 (Roy Oswalt, that is).  They call these guys Roy 1 (Halladay) and Roy 2 (Oswalt) because of their shared dominance and given names.

Rangers vs. Rays Update (Rangers 1, Rays 0):

The Rangers have never won a playoff series.  They are the only team in baseball to have never won a series.  On Wednesday, they did what they planned on doing: batters all the way through the lineup hit the ball hard and  Cliff Lee got the win that they brought him to Texas for.  Lee was acquired at the trade deadline and has done well for the Rangers.  He shut down the Rays on Wednesday, allowing just a solo homer run in the 7th inning.  Only two of the Rangers’ starters did not get a hit in Game 1.  Both teams spent their best pitcher on Game 1, and now we will see a step down in terms of pitching quality.

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.  CJ Wilson of the Rangers will go against Scott Shields for Tampa. Neither pitcher could be considered unbeatable, so the game should be entertaining as the Rangers take the next step toward winning a series for the first time in their franchise’s history. 

Giants vs. Braves Update (0-0) : 

The Braves square off against the Giants for their Game 1 on Thursday night.  This game will be on into the early morning hours on Friday, since it starts at 9:30 PM ET.  Derek Lowe is pitching for the Braves (another member of that ’04 Red Sox World Champion) and Tim Lincecum will start for the Giants.  Advantage Giants

Yankees vs. Twins Update (Yankees 1, Twins 0) : 

After an up and down game, the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, came into Game 1 in the eighth and pitched well for his 35th playoff save.  The Yankees came back from down 3-0 and finally take a 6-4 lead, which Mariano held onto.  Outside of Mariano, the pitching was fairly average.  It appeared that both starting pitchers stayed in about 3 batters too long and paid the price.  CC Sabathia rallied a bit and stuck around long enough to earn the win.     
Game 2 is Thursday evening (6 ET) and will feature Carl Pavano (of the Twins) against Andy Pettite of the Yankees.  Let’s go Twins! 

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The Basics

Baseball is  has been labeled "America's Pastime" because during the late 19th and early 20th century it was the most widely played sport in the country. More...


Magic number: the combined number of wins (by the top team) and losses (by the bottom team) until the bottom team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season.  This number is seen in parenthesis in the standing next to the second or third place teams.

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