Blog Entry

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

Posted on: May 26, 2011 2:26 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 2:27 am
 
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay didn't no-hit the Reds.

Wilson Valdez did.

Roy Halladay didn't make this game memorable. Wilson Valdez did.

No one will ever forget the night Halladay no-hit the Reds in the playoffs. And no one will ever forget the night (early morning?) that Valdez no-hit the Reds in the 19th inning.

I know this much: The next time Halladay pitches against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park, I'm there. And you should be, too.

The first time he faced them, Reds starter Travis Wood took a perfect game to the ninth inning. The next time he faced them, Halladay made like Don Larsen.

And Wednesday night -- early Thursday morning -- Valdez made like . . . Roy Halladay?

Well, sort of.

Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. He has 175 career wins, and a 3.29 career ERA.

Valdez is a utility infielder, who last pitched in some town game in the Dominican Republic, nine years ago. And he now has a 1-0 career record, and a 0.00 career ERA.

He got Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Carlos Fisher in the top of the 19th, and Raul Ibanez's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 19th made the Phillies -- and Valdez -- a 5-4 winner in one of the craziest games you'll ever see.

And Wilson Valdez was absolutely the star.

"He's wanted to pitch for a while," said Dane Sardinha, who caught him. "Now I'm sure he'll want to even more. But I'd hang it up right now if I were him. Perfect record."

Valdez was having none of that.

"Anytime they need me," he said.

And why not? He threw one pitch at 90 mph, most of the others at 88-89.

"That's better than some guys," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Manuel hates the idea of using a position player to pitch. He said he'd never done it. But he ran out of pitchers, Danys Baez had already thrown 73 pitches (easily the most he'd thrown since he became a reliever eight years ago), and Manuel decided it would be too risky to use one of his other starting pitchers.

So Valdez it was, in the 19th inning, at 1 o'clock in the morning.

At first base, Ryan Howard told Reds coach Billy Hatcher, "If he throws anything like he throws it [across the infield] to me, he'll be nasty out there, because he throws sinkers."

Behind the plate, Sardinha put down one finger for a fastball, over and over. Valdez tried to shake him off ("I thought, what is he about to throw," Howard said), but Sardinha put down one finger again.

Votto flied out to center field, but then Valdez called his catcher to the mound. Actually, two catchers, because Carlos Ruiz was playing third base, and he joined the conversation, as well.

"He told me he wanted to throw his other pitches," a disbelieving Sardinha said. "Then he hit [Scott] Rolen with a slider."

In the stands, where a surprising number of fans remained, the crowd got as loud as it had in hours.

"Let's go Wilson!" they chanted. "Wil-son! Wil-son!"

Sardinha -- and Valdez -- went back to the fastball to get Bruce and Fisher, the final Reds pitcher, who threw 95 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and was in the game long enough to get two at-bats.

Then the Phillies scored, and the game was over, just 6 hours, 11 minutes after it began.

"It was a grind," Howard said. "But we got a new spark of life when Wilson went out there."

Valdez was the happiest Phillie around, even happier when a reporter told him he was clocked at 90 mph.

He admitted that he went to the mound with no pressure ("I just thought, throw a strike, because if [Votto] hits a home run, they're not going to say anything. He's a tough hitter.").

He said he was ready to keep pitching if the Phillies didn't score in the bottom of the 19th.

"I could go three more, four more, whatever," he said. "This is something I'm never going to forget."

I'm with him on that. And if you saw it, I'm guessing you are, too.

*****

Two more memorable lines from a memorable night:

Sardinha, on whether Valdez had good stuff: "I told him he did, but it was [just] all right. He had a good sinker, and that was it."

Baez, on his 16th-inning at-bat, when he struck out: "I put on the wrong helmet. I put on a helmet to hit left-handed, and I thought, 'There's something wrong.' And I forgot to put pine tar on the bat."

Manuel, on Valdez: "I put him in against the heart of the order, [to] see what he's got. I think he passed the test."

Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:47 pm
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

This informative article is on an ongoing basis the right way made, and, the product holds a great many handy information. My spouse and i revered your ultimate professed usually means having to do with coming up with this important share.



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:09 am
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

Took me time for them to think about the full reports in addition to article content, this story is generally terrific nevertheless the very responses sell even more discuss notions, cheers.



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 3:04 pm
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

Hi there, I do know you're material. This can be evaluated a wonderful page hence there is no thought i would turn in the best statement to tell you, wonderful profession!



Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:04 pm
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

I just want to to thank a lot of people for this high-quality paragraph .We undeniably well-liked almost each smaller the software. We have you really additional your internet site to investigate the brand name new things you put together.



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 4:14 am
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

I'd actually want to say, we plucked 3rd thererrrs r essential seriously adequately. The information customers got have been appropriately preset.



Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:19 am
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:08 am
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

Privileged simply put i regarding contemporary displays uncovered this in turn high quality web page, could be absolutely sure to avoid wasting the item so we could drop by quite of ten.



Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 5:44 pm
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game



Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 12:09 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Apr 27, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:05 pm
 

The best (19th inning) pitcher in the game

jimmy rollins efforts at short need to be acknowledged as well.  he came up with play after play in the late innings


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com