Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top of the nineteenth

The bullpen has been empty for five innings and it's starting to feel late.

The backup catcher just pinch-hit for Danys Baez, the Phillies' last pitcher, in the futile bottom of the eighteenth. Now Charlie is negotiating with the homeplate umpire while flipping through his roster as anticipation amongst the hold-out spectators rises to a clamor. After a minute of discussion with a lot of pointing to the field, the players start taking unfamiliar positions: catcher Carlos Ruiz heads to third, thirdbaseman Polanco to second, and starting secondbaseman Wilson Valdez to the mound. To face current National League MVP Joey Votto. This is going to be, um, interesting.

Valdez's arrhythmic eighty-eight mile per hour fastballs produced two fly-outs and a pop-up with no hits by the Reds. His ten-pitch appearance brought the Fightin' Phils to the bottom of the nineteenth, the final and triumphal half-inning of the longest game played to date in Citizens Bank Park.

May 25-26, 2011
Philadelphia: 5
Cincinnati: 4

WP: W. Valdez

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