He threw a total of 80 pitches and struck out six without walking a batter. His fastball topped out at 92 m.p.h. and his curveball was his sharpest pitch. He used the curveball for consecutive strikeouts of Andre Ethier and Adam Kennedy in the fourth inning.
Halladay's first inning could have gone better only if he did not need 18 pitches to retire the side in order. Still, it was an impressive way to start.
He caught Bobby Abreu looking at a called third strike on a cut fastball, then got Mark Ellis looking at a cut fastball before retiring Matt Kemp on a fly ball to left field on a 3-2 pitch.
Neither Abreu nor Ellis agreed with the called third strike by home-plate umpire Wally Bell. Abreu, in fact, was already trotting to first base when Bell called him out, and the ball did appear to be slightly outside. Ellis, on the other hand, was complaining about a clear third strike.
As well as the first inning went, the second inning went downhill fast.
Ethier singled to left field to open the inning andKennedy dropped a double down the right-field line. James Loney and Luis Cruz followed with RBI singles to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
Halladay prevented the inning from being any worse by getting A.J. Ellis to hit into a line-drive double play before opposing pitcher Stephen Fife struck out looking.
Halladay left with the Phillies still trailing 2-1 when a diving Ryan Howard was thrown out at home plate by the centerfielder Kemp on a Hunter Pence single to end the top of the sixth inning.
Michael Schwimer came on in relief of Halladay.
Dubee was just happy to have his most accomplished ace back on the mound.
The Phillies went 15-27 without Halladay and the starting rotation was 12-19 with a 4.72 ERA. The Phillies were 25-24 with Halladay and the rotation was 19-16 with a 3.32 ERA.
How could one starting pitcher have that much of an impact?
"You lose an anchor," Dubee said. "A steady anchor. Now, all of a sudden, your [No. 2] guy has to feel like he has to pitch up to a [No. 1] or a plus-one. The pressure and expectations on themselves increase. It's like when you move a five-hitter to the three- or four-hole. Now, all of a sudden, he has to be a bigger piece than he had to be."
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brookob.