Roy Halladay 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 Wednesday afternoon.
Halladay's 295th career start will be his first in his hometown of Denver, where he'll look to become the majors' first seven-game winner as the Phillies and Rockies open a day-night doubleheader after Tuesday's game was postponed by rain.
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 a three-hit shutout of New York on May 1 by holding St. Louis to two runs - one earned - while striking out nine over seven innings in a 7-2 win Thursday.
Though manager Charlie Manuel almost removed Halladay following an Albert Pujols RBI single in the seventh, Halladay wanted to stay in, and he got Matt Holliday to ground out.
"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, tossing a two-hit shutout in Toronto on June 7, 2002. He grew up in Arvada, just northwest of Denver.
One Rockies player has had a fair amount of success against the former Cy Young Award winner. Jason Giambi is a .314 hitter in 70 at_bats versus Halladay, and only Boston's David Ortiz has homered more times (six) than Giambi (four) has against him.
Perhaps that will earn him another start at first base Wednesday, particularly considering Giambi had three hits and three RBIs in Monday's 9-5 series-opening loss after starting the season 2 for 22.
"Hopefully this will kind of jump-start me a little bit," Giambi said.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz homered and his fourth hit broke a ninth-inning tie, while Ross Gload's three-run shot gave Philadelphia some insurance.
"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."
The Rockies fell to 1-7 at home against the Phillies since the beginning of 2008 - postseason included - and they'll turn to Aaron Cook (1-3, 6.03) in Game 1 to try to get back in the win column.
Cook went the distance in his last home start, an 8-1 victory over Florida on April 24. He is 0-1 with an 8.18 ERA in his last two outings, allowing five runs over five innings in a 6-5, 12-inning win at San Diego on Wednesday.
Cook is 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies.
Manuel may want to give Gload a start after his pinch-hit homer Monday. Gload is 5 for 7 versus Cook.
Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer (4-2, 4.38) will start the nightcap after making history in his last outing. The 47-year-old left-hander became the oldest pitcher to throw a shutout Friday, tossing a two-hitter to beat Atlanta 7-0.
Moyer struck out five and faced one batter over the minimum to earn his 262nd victory.
"Cool, just doing my job," he said. "... This kind of stuff pushes me. This is what it's about."
Moyer is 1-5 with a 6.16 ERA in six starts against Colorado, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two outings at Coors Field. Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs is 6 for 11 (.545) with two homers and a double against Moyer.
He'll be opposed by Jason Hammel, who will be activated after being on the disabled list since April 27 with a strained right groin.
Hammel (0-2, 9.16) left his start against Arizona on April 26 after allowing five runs and six hits over three innings of a 5-3 loss.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.82 ERA in two appearances - one start - against Philadelphia.
The Associated Press News Service
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