I went through and re-watched the game. No, I'm not a sadomasochist, but just wanted to take in Halladay's performance.
After getting over the initial sting and burn of the whole no-hitter, watching as a baseball fan, I would like to applaud what Halladay did last night. It's almost disappointing in hindsight that he walked Jay Bruce in the 5th. Because after watching this game again, he actually pitched one of the better games I've watched in my young life (watching baseball since 1990).
While the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game gets a lot of mention for possibly the most dominating game of the last 20 years or so, and there have been a few perfect games this past decade, Halladay's command and precision movement on every single pitch he threw Wednesday was phenomenal.
I really think we need to drop the pretense he was aided by the strike zone. He was unhittable and while being just the second postseason no-no in MLB history should be enough to contextualize the performance, I wish it were a perfect game because - he was that good.
Chew on these numbers:
104 pitches, 79 strikes / 25 balls
28 batters faced, 25 balls
28 batters faced, 25 first-pitch strikes
94 game score (tied for third best this season behind his own perfect game and Brandon Morrow's 17 K 1-hitter)
12 grounders, 3 infield flies, 3 flyouts and 1 lineout (Travis Wood)
In the last 20 years, there have been about 50 game scores better than his 94 (all between 95-101). But given the circumstances of this one, his unbelievable ball-strike ratio and grounder-flyball ratio, this game is as good as almost any of them.
He may not have rivaled some of the overpowering games of baseball history, but his flow, command, break and mixing up his pitches was absolutely unbelievable to watch. If I were teaching a son how to pitch, I'd pull this game out and show him.
From a standpoint as a Reds' fan, this game bit the bullet. But going back watching from the view of a baseball purist, you have to tip your cap and acknowledge that was one heck of a game by the pitcher. Truly historic.