Phillies

Roy Halladay is a Hall of Famer — Brandy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and more react

Roy Halladay is a Hall of Famer — Brandy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and more react

Roy Halladay is everything the Baseball Hall of Fame is about. 

Tuesday was a bittersweet night for everyone fortunate enough to cross paths with Doc or admire him from afar. Good luck finding anyone — a teammate, a rival, a writer, a fan, an exec — who would dream of saying a bad word about him.

Halladay leaves behind an uncommon legacy. As the words you'll read below further illustrate.

Brandy Halladay

"Being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is every boy's dream. To stand on that stage in Cooperstown and deliver your acceptance speech in front of baseball's most enthusiastic fans is something that every baseball player aspires to achieve, and Roy was no exception. But that was not Roy's goal. It was not his goal to have those three letters after his signature. His goal was to be successful every single day of his 16-year career.  

Tonight's announcement is the end result of that effort. If only Roy were here to personally express his gratitude for this honor, what an even more amazing day this would be. I would like to extend special thanks to the baseball writers for the overwhelming percentage of votes that Roy received in his first year on the ballot. It means so much to me, Braden and Ryan."

Jimmy Rollins

"Congratulations to Roy and the Halladay family on Roy's induction into baseball's Hall of Fame, a place you knew he was destined for if you ever had the opportunity to witness his dominance! The days Doc would take the ball you knew you had to be your very best because there was zero doubt in anyone's mind that you would receive anything less from him!  

When Roy decided to come to Philadelphia, it was for one reason, to win a championship, and we wanted nothing more than to share in that moment of glory with him. Although we never accomplished that with him, it doesn't take away from all that he was able to accomplish during his career. 

Anyone that has ever heard the name Roy Halladay wishes he were here for us all to celebrate this moment of greatness and give thanks for the many memories he gave us on the playing field but even more importantly the ones we all got to create when he took off his Superman cape, gave that big ol' cheesy smile and made you feel like you had known him all your life! Congrats Doc, you are forever enshrined in baseball greatness!!"
                                      
Chase Utley

"One of the great pleasures of my career was being able to play behind a man like Roy Halladay. He was fierce. He was competitive. He was focused. But, most of all, he was great. Not just a great player but also a great teammate and a great friend. On the field, Roy wanted nothing more than to bring another championship to Philadelphia. Off the field, he wanted nothing more than to be the best husband and father he could be. He was someone I admired then and still do today. Jen and I send not just our congratulations to Brandy, Braden and Ryan, but also our thanks for sharing Roy with us and the city of Philadelphia."

Charlie Manuel

"People like to throw the word 'ace' around a lot, but Roy Halladay was a true 'ace.' In his time with the Phillies, he completed more games than anyone else in baseball, because his mindset was to pitch at least 9.0 innings. He was one of the most prepared guys I've ever been around and put more work into preparing for his next start than anyone I'd ever seen. Roy had great control with a tremendous arsenal of pitches and even if he didn't have his best stuff on a particular day, he'd still find a way for his team to win.  

He was an unquestioned leader on our team because with Roy it was never about him, but always about the people around him.  We all miss Roy every day and I'm so thankful to have called him a friend.  Congratulations to his whole family, especially Brandy, Braden and Ryan, on an honor that is very well deserved."

John Middleton

"Roy Halladay made an indelible, unforgettable mark on Phillies history during his time with us. From his perfect game to his postseason no-hitter to his Cy Young Award, his accomplishments in red pinstripes are nothing short of legendary, and his placement in the Hall of Fame is well deserved. Even more impressive was the way Roy carried himself off the field, always giving back not just to his teammates, but more so to his community, whether it was here in Philadelphia or in the Pinellas County area.  

For all he accomplished as a player and everything he stood for as a person, Doc will forever remain in the hearts of Phillies fans everywhere. My heartfelt congratulations go out Brandy, Braden and Ryan."

Mike Schmidt

"Roy was such a great family man and teammate, beloved by Phillies fans.  His teammates watched him train and I believe that pushed them to be better. He studied the game, its mechanics and mental side and was always willing to share his wealth of knowledge with anyone interested.  Roy was indeed a 'man for all seasons.' After retiring, he established an office at the minor league complex to mentor young Phillies, which was his secret love.  

I could go on and on, but I'll end by thanking the baseball writers who recognized Roy Halladay as a first-ballot member.  His family, friends and teammates only wish he could be here."

Cole Hamels

"I consider myself very fortunate to have played alongside Roy. He defined work ethic and how to prepare yourself to win. He wasn't about the spotlight and never wanted to take credit away from his teammates.  He now finally gets the credit he deserves. He completely reinvented himself in order to succeed at the major league level and in a game of failure he didn't lose much. If you did beat him, he would make sure you never did again.  

There's a part of him that I take with me every time I prepare for my games and step out onto that mound.  I congratulate Brandy, Braden and Ryan on Roy Halladay's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had such an amazing impact on so many baseball players and future stars."

Kyle Kendrick

"Roy's numbers speak for themselves, but for me it was his work ethic in between starts and the way he treated and respected the game. I know Roy is smiling down on Brandy and the boys today."

Brad Lidge

"Roy was the ultimate competitor and workhorse. He (along with Chase) defined what it meant to be the first to show up and the last to leave. His work ethic was only topped by how brilliant his command was and how nasty his pitches were.  He went through the best hitters like a hot knife through butter and did it with ideal efficiency. He rose up on the biggest occasions of his career and he always gave you every ounce of energy he had."

Jayson Werth

"A well-deserved honor for the fiercest competitor I ever had the honor to take the field with. Roy is deeply missed but remembered forever."

The thoughts and sounds behind Bryce Harper's jaw-dropping home run

The thoughts and sounds behind Bryce Harper's jaw-dropping home run

Aaron Nola had no chance at seeing where the ball landed.

Not many did, unless you were a fan leisurely strolling through the center-field concourse and enjoying the amenities of Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park.

"I think it went over the stadium, from where I was sitting," Nola said. "It was a long one."

That's how powerfully Bryce Harper struck his first-inning home run in the Phillies' 2-1 win over the Rockies (see observations). The ball left his bat at 114.1 miles per hour, traveled 466 feet and cleared the brick walls in center field.

It was loud and it made the sellout crowd of 42,354 fans louder.

"I think just as a fan, you just stop and watch the distance of the ball," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I don't think we saw a ball go that far to center field all year last year and certainly not this year. That's rare territory. Pretty impressive."

Harper pounced on a first-pitch fastball from Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela. The swing consisted of everything you want to see from Harper, who is 5 for 15 (.333) over his last four games with the homer and three doubles.

He's staying back and driving the ball.

"I think he's beginning to feel it," Kapler said. "I think part of that comes from the work he's been doing with [hitting coach] John Mallee, specifically being a little bit taller on his backside and his hands being a little bit closer to his body."

Harper didn't want to make too much about the distance of his home run. He remembered some advice from a former manager and five-time All-Star.

"Matt Williams always used to tell me, 'It's not how far, it's how many you hit,'" Harper said. "I'm just trying to go about it the right way every single day, doing things out there that help this team win. Just putting the bat to the ball and trying to win games.

Harper has eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 45 games. He has a .371 on-base percentage and is second in baseball to only Mike Trout with 34 walks.

However, he's hitting .230 and was 10 for his last 70 (.143) prior to this 5-for-15 stretch. The Phillies are seeing positive signs, though, from Harper's swing.

"We all believed he was going to break out of what he was in," Nola said. "Guy works hard, works hard at what he does. We've all seen what he's done in his career. Nobody is pressing over him, we know he's the gamer that he is and he does a lot to help the team.

On Saturday, it was a walk, a double and vicious contact on the first pitch he saw.

"I think Harp is best when he's gap to gap," Kapler said. "Every once in a while, he's out in front and pulls the ball down the line. He's at his best when he's hitting high line drives into the gaps, and the ones that he gets just underneath go into the seats or in this case, over everything in center field."

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The weather is warming and here comes Phillies' Aaron Nola

The weather is warming and here comes Phillies' Aaron Nola

The sun was beaming and Aaron Nola was in attack mode, letting the ball rip through the 78-degree heat.

Just like the days back in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?

"It's hot as hell down there in the summer," Nola said with a smile about his hometown.

It wasn't quite that hot Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, but Nola looked at home. He looked like himself, the Nola everybody watched in 2018 when he finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.

Or on second thought …

"Not just the 2018 version, but the best version of the 2018 version," manager Gabe Kapler said.

As the weather turns to warmer temperatures, the man with the most important right arm on the first-place Phillies could be turning into form. It sure appeared that way Saturday as he struck out a career-high-tying 12 batters to pick apart the Rockies in the Phillies' 2-1 win (see observations).

Nola delivered six innings of one-run ball in 106 pitches. He was firing from the get-go, striking out the side in the first inning on 13 pitches. All three punchouts were looking and punctuated by fastballs.

Five days ago from the same mound, Nola needed 38 pitches to finish the first inning against the Brewers. The weather was miserable, a wet 48 degrees at first pitch. He lasted just three frames, throwing 84 pitches in a no-decision.

That performance is now safely buried in the past.

"He was sharp, he was electric, he was running his fastball back over the plate off of the inside," Kapler said. "The curveball was sharp from the outset. When his curveball is good, you see lots of swings and misses, you see empty swings, and that's what was happening today for him."

Nola has a Louisiana coolness to him. The 25-year-old is laid-back, but he's laser-focused.

It's why the Phillies haven't been too worried about his 4.86 ERA entering Saturday or his pinpoint command not being all there through nine starts.

"When I've had conversations with Aaron after the starts that haven't been great, he's so consistent in talking about his process and that being the thing that he can control and the work that he does between starts," Kapler said. "He never comes off of that position. He doesn't cry in his soup, he's not thinking about the last outing that he had, he's already on to the next one. I think the reason that we saw him come out like lightning today is because of the work that he did between starts."

Nola improved to 4-0 with a 4.47 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 21 walks. He's 10 starts into the 2019 season and is only warming. Still, the Phillies have led the NL East and are just starting to see his best around mid-May.

"That's what I remember when I was with the Nats, facing that," Bryce Harper said. "It's getting hot out there, he's from Baton Rouge, so he likes pitching in hot weather, warm weather."

A quiet competitor like Nola knew Saturday's effort was possible, even with his previous start still fresh.

"It's baseball, anything happens," Nola said. "Last outing, I never threw 80-some pitches in three innings. I've never done it before, but it happens. Things can change really quick. Always got to trust what you're doing and keep working hard through the ups and downs."

That warm weather didn't hurt, either.

"It felt good outside," Nola said. "I got a good sweat on, I like sweating when I'm out there."

The Phillies will like Nola in the summer.

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