What was the difference?
Look no further than Jamie Moyer, who gave the stud right-hander some useful tips in his last bullpen session before Saturday's masterpiece.
"Talking to Jamie Moyer," Halladay said, "we kind of went over some things that he thought would help, and I agreed with him, took it up and tried to do those things."
"Just mechanics-wise," the former American League Cy Young Award winner said. "I felt like the last couple times, I was getting side-to-side. I wasn't keeping my momentum back to front. I felt like that was kind of taking me offline going towards home plate. That, to me, was an adjustment that I've done in the past, but for some reason, was a little bit off. It just felt comfortable. How much of a difference it makes sometimes is debatable. But when you make an adjustment and you feel good about it, I think sometimes that's half the battle."
The visitors' dugout on Saturday night was silent, but for good reason. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel remembers a much more uncomfortable silence the previous time Halladay took the mound.
"I look down the bench and you can tell that he didn't want to be out of the game, and you can tell that he's probably thinking, 'What the [heck] am I doing sitting over here?'" Manuel recalled. "And he walks up by me, right by the bat rack, and I forget what he says. He puts his hand over the camera -- there's a camera standing right there -- and he says something to me like, 'I'm better than that,' and stuff like that, in a real emotional kind of way -- determined."
Oh, Halladay sure is better than that. And he showed it on Saturday night, when he struck out a season-high 11 batters and retired all 27 batters despite getting into seven three-ball counts.
Halladay, acquired this offseason in a blockbuster three-team deal that jettisoned ace lefty Cliff Lee to Seattle, is now 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA that ranks third in the National League, and as expected, is a prime candidate for another Cy Young Award.
Since the 47-year-old Moyer made his Major League debut, nine of the 20 perfect games in Major League history have been thrown. The salty veteran has also teamed up with plenty of dominant starters in his day, and since he's only been a teammate of Halladay's for a few months, he didn't think it'd be fair to rank him among other hurlers he's shared a staff with.
But Moyer knows a legend when he sees one.
"I've seen him from across the field for a number of years and always respected him from across the field," said Moyer, who will start Sunday's series finale. "And now as a teammate, I think I have even more respect for not only what he brings on the field, but as a teammate and as a competitor and the work ethic that he has. He's a great example. I feel honored to be on the same pitching staff as he."