Roy Halladay pitched Game One of the National League Divisional Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. By now, everyone is aware that he pitched the second no-hitter in Major League Baseball playoff history. He set the tone for the series in which the Phillies swept the Reds in three games.
And it was his first career postseason start.
I've been around the game long enough to know that when the regular season ends and the postseason begins, there is usually a different feel to the game. Every pitch, play and at bat is magnified. It isn't "just another game." Depending on the scenario, if you lose, your season may be over. But the pitchers and players - no matter which sport or level - who can put the postseason pressure behind them, are those who are successful.
Transforming your situation into the "just another game" mentality is difficult, but when you can adjust your mindset and think of your postseason game as a regular season game, you will have a better chance of helping your team win.
Now, Roy didn't face a "win or go home" situation. If the Phillies had lost, they would only have been one game behind the Reds. But being up one game versus down one game can add additional pressure to a team and give you a feeling like you are backed into a corner, especially in a best of five series.
But Roy Halladay pitched the Phillies to a no-hit victory, just as he did earlier in the regular season, when he took the mound in "just another game" against the Florida Marlins.