Phillies fans everywhere are experiencing a weird, but very pleasant, case of déjà vu. In three games with the Reds, the Phillies have gone extra innings 3 times and won 3 times with 3 walk-off hits; 2 homers and today, an RBI-single.
At the start of the game, people were wondering, who in the world is this Travis Wood kid pitching for the Reds? When he first stepped on the mound, I guessed that maybe one of the Reds players was pulling a fast one by putting his 12-year old son out there with some stick-on facial hair, disguised as a big-leaguer. I thought, oh how cute, this little boy is “playing” pitcher. Isn’t he adorable?
But once he started pitching, he was not so cute anymore. Wood is 23 years old and today’s game was only his 3rd appearance as a major league pitcher. He gave up 2 runs in his first game and 3 in the second. Against the Phillies, he got through 8 full innings without a base runner.
But the Phillies were certainly helping him out. They were not patient at the plate, swinging at first pitches and balls, swinging when ahead in the count and basically just looking awful. Shane Victorino had 2 balls and no strikes on him at one point and swung at the very next pitch, a high fastball, popping it up. WHY?
Now everyone is thinking, can this kid throw a perfect game? And even more perplexing, can Roy Halladay actually lose to a 12-year old? Oh, I mean a 23-year old; my bad.
Halladay was nearly as good as Wood and the game was a total stalemate through 8 innings for both pitchers. Neither team had scored, although Halladay did give up some hits. But after 9 innings, Halladay had his shut-out intact.
Unfortunately for Wood and his perfect game attempt, Carlos Ruiz was activated off the DL today. He stepped to the plate at the start of the 9th and 4 pitches later, Wood’s perfect game was gone as Ruiz doubled to centerfield. Wilson Valdez tried to ruin the moment by bunting into mid-air; that ball was caught for the first out. Raul Ibanez hit a sac fly to move Ruiz to 3rd, but Jimmy Rollins popped out to end the inning.
So Halladay, despite a 9-inning shut-out, could no longer qualify for the win. That is a tragedy. But the Phillies would make up for it by winning the game in extra innings. Yes, for the 3rd consecutive night, the Phillies and Reds went to extra innings.
More déjà vu occurred in the 11th inning, and in more ways than one. Ruiz doubled…again. And then Rollins had yet another chance to get Ruiz home. In the 9th inning, he popped out. But this time, base hit! And, AGAIN, the Phillies won the game on a walk-off! That is 3 extra inning games in a row and 3 walk-off wins in a row! I said it yesterday, I will say it again: Unbelievable!!!
The finale of the 4-game series will be tomorrow at 1:35pm with Cole Hamels pitching. I am hoping to witness a sweep (pretty please?). Either way, I will return with photos. Go Phillies!
Halladay photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Wood photo from CBSsports.com