Five innings of baseball had been played, and Wilson Valdez was plenty pissed.
Father’s Day. A gorgeous afternoon. Fans Citizens Bank Park-over were adorned in this year’s particular ridiculous Father’s Day giveaway. Roy Halladay was getting pushed around. And the Phillies, as is their custom, were losing. The faint breaths of offense and pitching we’d seen within the last few days were becoming precious memories as, for the second day in a row, a jilted loss looked to befell the Phils.
Or… was it…?
Valdez stepped into the batter’s box known to some–mainly those who happen to be near my during Phillies games–as a “Fireballing shortstop with a bat made of garbage.” His home run the day before was an oasis in a desert of sandy K’s and GIDP’s. Already, as the “fifth inning bitter-wave” swept over me, I was demanding that he was not capable of pulling off the feat again.
For the first time ever, I was proven wrong about something in baseball. Valdez clocked a pure Pavano 352 feet over the left field wall.
“And the game is tied!” Tom McCarthy wrongly informed television viewers, forgetting the Twins had scored again the previous inning.
But even so. One run can start a revolution. One unlikely spark can light up a team. One holiday hero can save the day. Maybe, on a day to celebrate our fathers, Wilson Valdez was about to lead the Phillies’ offense in a relentless assault to make the Twins call him daddy.
Twins 4, Phillies 1
He wasn’t, and the Phillies never scored again. The end.
Roy Halladay gave up three runs in eight innings, then left to go shoot a nail gun into his arm or whatever he does release frustration. He has lost three in a row.
No Phillies outfielder had a hit or a walk. Shane Victorino had a throwing error.
Carlos Ruiz, recovering from a broken baseball bat to the skull, did not see playing time. He was the lone Phillie free from the day’s black hole offense, as Brian Schneider took the reigns and chose to strike out. It was a widely criticized decision.
On the other, brighter side of the field, Twins starter Carl Pavano, grabbed his mustache and headed toward the mound. 105 pitches later, he walked off with a CG notch to shave into his ‘stache. He only had two strikeouts, but gave up only 4 hits. That’s really good.
So, where do we go from here? Tuesday. Cleveland is pedaling into town in the midst of their own catastrophic meltdown. Maybe we can swap resentment about watching Cliff Lee leave town. Somewhere out in the steamy Atlanta nocturne, the Braves were winning their fifth straight, while up north, C.C. Sabathia was thankfully devouring his opponents, Met by Met. It was a chorus of the wrong numbers getting bigger.
After a day of handing Roy Halladay another loss and filling our father’s voicemail boxes with hateful screams, there’s not a lot that can ease the pain. But a reminder that occasionally, we all fall flat on our faces is a healthy dose of reality to a supernaturally awful month of June for the Phillies.