What's the best game by a Philly pitcher?

January 18th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- Last week, MLB.com took a look at the five greatest single-game hitting performances in Phillies history. This week we present the top five pitching performances.

Tell us where we went wrong.

1. Roy Halladay (Oct. 6, 2010)

Halladay’s no-hitter in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series is not only the greatest pitching performance in Phillies history, it is one of the greatest pitching performances in baseball history. Consider the stakes, the results and the storyline leading up to it. Halladay spent the first 12 years of his 16-year career with the Blue Jays, establishing himself as one of the game's greatest. But he never made the postseason, which is why he pushed for a trade to Philadelphia in December 2009. Then, in his first postseason start, he no-hit the Reds at Citizens Bank Park. Only a walk to Jay Bruce in the fifth inning spoiled a perfect game.

It answered an important question for Halladay.

“Can I really do it when it matters?” Halladay said in “Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay.” “I had seen my friends in that situation -- Chris Carpenter pitching in games like that and having success. I’m sitting there going, ‘If they can do it, can I do it? What does it take to do that?’ I always wondered what the difference was, how I’d react, would I be able to stand up in a situation like that? I always felt like the greater the challenge, the more ready I was. But I wanted to test that. And there couldn’t have been a better test than that situation in Philly in that atmosphere. One of the greatest fan bases on the face of the earth. I was at the right place at the right time. I feel like I got struck by lightning, you know?”

It is one of only two no-hitters in postseason history. Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series is the other.

2. Jim Bunning (June 21, 1964)

Bunning’s perfect game on Father’s Day 1964 is a solid No. 2, no? Bunning struck out 10 in a 6-0 victory over the Mets at Shea Stadium. It was the ninth perfect game in baseball history and the first in baseball in 42 years.

Though it is tradition not to speak to a pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter, Bunning wanted no part of that superstition and openly conversed with teammates on the field and in the dugout.

“He acted like he knew something early,” manager Gene Mauch told The Philadelphia Inquirer that day. “He was moving the infielders around early. Then late in the game, when he was coming back to the dugout, he was yelling, ‘Nine more! Six more! Three more! Do something out there! Dive for the balls!’”

Related

3. Roy Halladay (May 29, 2010)

Months before his postseason heroics, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in baseball history, against the Marlins in Miami.

Halladay did not have his best command early, but he settled in and carved up the Marlins the rest of the way. It might have helped that he had come close to throwing no-hitters while with the Blue Jays, falling short each time. It removed some of the pressure.

“I’d finally gotten to the mentality of, ‘It’s not going to happen, so quit worrying about it,’” he said in “Doc.” “And I couldn’t care less if I threw one or not. I figured it wasn’t going to happen anyway. So, once it did, it was like, ‘Huh, that’s interesting.’ And I tell everybody, it’s kind of funny that you have this perfect game and you celebrate on the field, you go in the clubhouse and then it’s like, ‘Now what?’ Because it’s so fun being on the field and competing that there’s nothing else that can compare to that. After the game, it was almost like, not a letdown, but the climax and the excitement was during the game. After the game was over, it was gone. It was gone. So it was easy for me to move on from that, but that was a strange experience for me, because I thought this would be something that would stick with you, and it really, after that game was over, was like, ‘I just want to go home and sleep.’”

4. Chris Short (Oct. 2, 1965)

Not too many people remember this one, but Short pitched 15 scoreless innings in an 18-inning scoreless tie against the Mets at Shea Stadium. (The game was called because of curfew.) Short struck out 18 batters, tying an NL record for an extra-inning game.

Short’s 114 Game Score -- a statistic developed by Bill James, whose formula gauges a pitcher’s performance -- is the best in Phillies history, according to Baseball-Reference.

5. Cliff Lee (Oct. 28, 2009)

Lee’s incredible performance in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium -- allowing one unearned run in a complete-game 6-1 victory -- is one of the best because of the opponent and because of how relaxed he seemed throughout the game. This, despite almost missing the beginning of it. Lee didn't take the team bus to the ballpark, because he preferred to take a taxi later. But he got stuck in traffic and eventually hopped out of the cab and took the subway to the ballpark.

Other postseason performances that could have cracked the top five are Cole Hamels’ shutout against the Reds in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS, Hamels’ eight scoreless innings against the Brewers in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS, Lee’s eight scoreless innings against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the 2009 NLCS, Curt Schilling’s shutout against the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series and Steve Carlton’s one run in seven innings in Game 6 of the 1980 World Series. In the regular season, Hamels’ no-hitter against the Cubs on July 25, 2015, at Wrigley Field and Carlton’s one-hit shutout against the Giants on April 25, 1972, at Candlestick Park also merit consideration.