Last night was a marathon of a game in Philadelphia. It lasted more than 6 hours and included 28 hits on 135 at-bats and 601 pitches thrown by 16 pitchers. (Including Wilson Valdez, a utility infielder for PHI, who closed the game in the 19th inning and got the win.) Sheesh! That’s an interesting game!
What’s more interesting is that 25 of those hits came in the first 10 inning with both bullpens allowing only 3 hits combined for the remaining 9 innings.
The Reds had a chance to do some damage in the 11th when Brandon Phillips was hit by pitch with one out. Votto then walked, putting 2 on with one out and Rolen at the plate. Phillips, however, was chatting with the Phillies shortstop as he wandered off the base for his lead, and was easily picked off by Romero as he was not paying much attention. (He did hold himself accountable for his mistake; he even tweeted his apologies to Reds fans for not having his head in the game and possibly costing them a win.) The game continued for 8 more innings when the Phillies, out of relievers, moved Wilson Valdez to the mound. Facing the meat of the Reds order, Valdez needed only 10 pitches to get 3 outs. Votto flied out to center, Rolen took first after being hit, then Bruce and Fisher both flied out. With pitches in the upper 80s, Valdez was the first position player to pitch for the Phillies since 2002, and became the first position player in baseball to record a win since 2000.
If you watch the highlights of his outing, you’ll see how confident Valdez is in his pitching abilities. Once Fisher connected on the ball, Valdez didn’t look up, didn’t even turn to see the catch! He simply grinned as he trotted off into the dugout.
Over on the west coast, the Marlins and the Giants were also playing late into the night. The Giants never had a lead, and after tying the game in the 9th they played on for 3 more innings. In the 12th, Scott Cousins reached base on a fielder’s choice bunt. He advanced to 3rd on a single and after a caught fly ball in right field, he tagged up and headed home. With Buster Posey blocking the plate – Cousins dropped his shoulder and collided into him. As he toppled over backwards, his ankle rolled, or bent, or mangled….whatever it did it looked nasty. He was helped off the field and x-rays and an MRI confirmed the teams biggest fear: it’s broken.
His agent is contacting MLB to push for a rule change that would prevent these kinds of collisions. I don’t think Cousins was in the wrong, based on the current rules, but this kind of injury, or worse – concussions, just don’t seem worth it to me. Yes it was the go ahead run and yes it helped the team get a win, but do you want to risk your career for one W? I wonder what Mike Matheny’s answer would be.
At no other base can you stand in the basepath and block the bag, nor can you plow into the fielder attempting to hit him so hard he drops the ball. You slide – get under the tag, around the tag, past the tag…not through the fielder. Football players get fined for helmet to helmet collisions, why are baseball players allowed to play so rough?
Other stories worth noting – if Dodgers owner Frank McCourt can’t make payroll for his players next week, MLB will likely take full control of team. Can you imagine being Matt Kemp or Andre Eithier and going to the bank only to have your MLB paycheck bounce! YIKES! Other ownership woes in NY as Fred Wilpon makes negative comments about his players. Doesn’t he know he’s already in enough hot water? He’s still looking to sell a good chunk of the team (as a non-controlling partner). Who’s going to spend that kind of money to own a significant piece of a major league team and have zero say in day-to-day operations? Idiot. Which brings me to my last mention – Marty Brenneman. A Reds broadcaster who felt the need to talk shit about the Cardinals, which was a classless move that only made him look bad. LaRussa’s response?
“He earned the right to get into the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “And now he ought to keep earning that respect instead of abusing it.”
Now that’s a classy response.