“Some say Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay is baseball’s best pitcher, and after facing him for the first time on Wednesday night, Rusty Ryal wasn’t about to dispute it.
Ryal saw a pitcher with stuff as good as his command, who pounded strikes, who refused to give in to hitters, and whose repertoire seemed almost limitless.
“Anybody who wants to learn how to pitch, watch him,” Ryal said after Halladay finished off his major league-leading eighth complete game in a 7-1 thumping of Edwin Jackson and the Diamondbacks.
“His effectiveness, with the ball down and his artillery, it’s phenomenal at times. That’s why he has the track record that he does.”
As the Phillies got their first look at highly touted rookie outfielder Domonic Brown, who went 2 for 3 with two RBIs in his major-league debut, it was veteran Carlos Ruiz who delivered arguably the biggest hit of the game.
Ruiz’s two-run double off Jackson in the sixth gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead, seemingly putting the game out of reach with Halladay doing his thing.
Halladay worked quickly. He was efficient. And, most of all, he was dominant, allowing just six hits without walking a batter.
In six different innings, Halladay threw 11 or fewer pitches. He went to a three-ball count on only two of the 33 batters he faced and went to two balls on only seven others.
“He throws so many strikes that the best pitches you’re going to see are early,” Diamondbacks interim manager Kirk Gibson said. “And they aren’t even that good. He just pounds the zone with any pitch.”
The Diamondbacks had runners in scoring position on only two occasions. They broke up the shutout in the ninth with an RBI double by Miguel Montero on a ball that got past a diving Brown in right field.
“We mixed pitches extremely well,” Halladay said. “It hasn’t been any one pitch. I’ve been able to throw everything for strikes.””