Phillies-Reds off-day notes
Canadian first-baseman Joey Votto is not comfortable in the media spotlight and, intensely private, may never learn to be. After the Reds' workout, he addressed reporters and answered all the questions about the dominance of Roy Halladay and being down a game in the series. He was first asked about any hangover the Reds may feel on Friday.
“We're not hung over and we're down 1-0 in the series," Votto said. "I think we've talked as much as we could about Roy throwng a no-hitter. We genuinely have turned the page and moved on to the next game."
The situation may be a little more daunting than Votto is letting on because Game 2 features Roy Oswalt, arguably better than Halladay in the final two months of the season.
“He seems to be throwing really well in Philadelphia, we're aware of that," Votto said. "We know we have to pick it up a notch and really compete. We know we have our hands full with all three of their guys. We have the same approach and mentality as we do against Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
"Again, a lot of it is not in our hands. It's really difficult when a guy throws a no-hitter and makes so few mistakes to beat a pitcher, a guy who's as good as it gets last night. We don't anticipate every pitcher's going to be like that. We'll try to capitalize on mistakes."
The questions kept coming. Was Votto aware his team had not scored a run in 30 innings at Citizens Bank Park? And what were they going to do about it?
“I'm not conscious of it," Votto said. "You just wait it out. You have to wait everything out in this game. You're going to go through slumps, you're going to go through stretches where you just don't score any runs and you just continue to compete. If you don't compete and you buy into the 30 shutout innings, these guys are too good, this is the best team in the National League, if you buy into that that's when you're going to start running into problems. We don't. I just don't see it on this team."
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The key moment in Game 1 may have been Roy Halladay's first pitch line-drive single to left field that bounced in front of Johnny Gomes scoring Carlos Ruiz from second. Manager Charlie Manuel spoke of the work that his ace pitcher has put in improving with the bat.
"He's getting better at being able to -- I think his timing. You've got to remember, he hasn't been used to swinging at 97, 96, 95 miles-an-hour fastballs. He's definitely improved. He still needs work on his bunting, but I guess the old saying is if you can hit you may not have to bunt a lot. He's been getting big hits for himself."
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Reds manager Dusty Baker tried to put Roy Halladay's season, capped by the Game 1 no-hitter, into perspective with what he has seen in his career as a player and manager.
"This is probably one of the best seasons I've seen in a long time," Baker said. "I remember right here in Philly, the years that Steve Carlton had. The years that Nolan Ryan had (in California, Houston and Texas) and J.R. Richard had down in Houston. The fact that (Halladay) had a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season probably sets him apart from the rest of the guys."