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Old 05-10-2011, 11:30 AM   #18251
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Re: Philadelphia Phillies

Cool story about tonight's matchup from Buster Olney's Insider Blog on ESPN. Here you go:


A lot of folks will watch the best pitching matchup of 2011 (so far) tonight, when Josh Johnson pitches against Roy Halladay, and Johnson can understand. Because he likes to watch Halladay, too.

Getty ImagesJohnson marvels at how well Halladay repeats his delivery.

One day last summer, Johnson threw his standard bullpen session between starts, and as he finished his work, he noticed that in the home bullpen in Philadelphia, Halladay was about to start a bullpen session of his own. Johnson asked Rich Dubee, the Phillies' pitching coach, if Halladay would mind if he watched -- and after checking with the Philadelphia ace, Dubee said that would be fine.

So like a kid in the stands, Johnson took a seat and watched Halladay go through his work, and he was struck by how consistent Halladay's delivery is, regardless of what pitch he was throwing. "Exactly the same with every single pitch," Johnson recalled, in a phone conversation on Monday evening.

Both pitchers were named to the National League All-Star team, and Johnson naturally gravitated toward Halladay -- feeling that he shouldn't pass up an opportunity to be around someone so good at his craft -- and took a seat next to him during one of the All-Stars' bus rides.

Coming into this season, what Johnson thought most about was trying to give himself a chance to pitch deeper into games, by getting more groundballs with a curveball and changeup, by being more efficient in his pitch count.

"The guy who I'm facing tomorrow," Johnson said, "is the ultimate in doing that."

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