Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wilson Valdez Gets A Win

The average MLB game lasts 2 hours and 54 minutes.  Last nights Phillies vs Reds at Citizens Bank Park lasted 6 hours and 11 minutes.  A baseball game is supposed to last 9 innings, last nights game was 19; that's two games with the second game going 1 extra inning.  Not since May of 2000 when the Flyers played five overtime periods or since November of 2008 when Donovan McNabb didn't know the rules of overtime has their been a more exciting overtime / extra inning game involving a Philly team.

It seemed as though last nights epic game was a competition to see who could hit worse with runners in scoring position, the Phillies finished the game 1-13 and the Reds went 3-15.  The Reds totaled 70 at bats to the Phillies 65 and every player was used.  The Phillies had 22 total batters in the game and the Reds had 20.  The Pitching staffs also became used up with the Reds using 7 pitchers and the Phillies using 8 pitchers and one position player. 

The game entered extra innings tied at three, but that was changed in the top of the tenth.  The Reds Jay Bruce homered to right to give the Cincinnati a 4-3 lead.  On most nights that would have been the end of the game, but last night was not most nights.  The Phillies answered in the bottom of the tenth when Ryan Howard matched Bruce's solo homerun with one of his own that traveled 434 feet and re-tied the game at 4 each.  After that the offenses sputtered and the game became a chess match of the bull pens. 

After the Phillies used long man Kyle Kendrick for an out in the tenth and eleventh innings the Phils were had to depend on Danys Baez.  On most nights when Danys Baez is called upon from the Phillies bullpen, fans are silenced because they are holding their breath.  Last night Baez might have had his best performance in a Phillies uniform, pitching 5 innings and only allowing one hit.  The combination of Danys Baez and David Herndon kept the Phillies in the game but in the end an infielder would earn the win.

The Phillies were out of options for pitchers by the 19th inning and Charlie Manuel had to look to his position players for the first time as the Phillies manager.  Wilson Valdez was asked if he could pitch and Valdez answered that question quickly.  Valdez did nothing wrong in my eyes and in the eyes of most Phillies fans.  He did hit Scott Rolen, but like I said, Valdez did nothing wrong.  After his one hits batsman, Valdez was able to get three pop ups in a row and get the win.  Valdez became the first position player since 1968 to earn a win and the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to start a game at a position and earn the win as a pitcher.  Valdez was also one of the bright spots of the offense going 3-6 with one walk. 

I sat in my recliner last night telling myself, I'll watch just one more inning then I'll go to bed.  At 1:30 and 19 innings of baseball later I finally made it to bed.  Thank God for coffee! 

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