Wednesday, August 25, 2010

1971 Topps #192 Billy Wilson

Astros 4, Phillies 2 (16 Innings)
Game 125 - Tuesday Night, August 24th in Philadelphia

It started out innocently enough.  It was Carlos Ruiz Bobble-Head Night at Citizens Bank Park and the Phils were fielding their everyday starting 8 for the first time since May 21st and just the 6th time this season.  Starter Cole Hamels allowed a pair of runs in the 4th (another Carlos Lee 2-run homer) and the Phillies finally scored in the 6th when Raul Ibañez doubled home Jayson Werth.  It was their first run scored for Hamels since August 1st, following a 25-inning scoreless drought.

Trailing 2-1 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Jimmy Rollins blasted a 3-1 Wilton Lopez fastball into the right field stands to tie up the game.  And for the next 2½ hours, the score remained tied, 2-all.  The Phils exhausted their bullpen, as all 7 of their relievers combined to throw 8 shutout innings.  The last man standing was Rule 5 pick David Herndon, who pitched a scoreless 14th and 15th innings before faltering in the 16th and allowing 2 runs on 2 infield hits, a hit batter, a wild pitch, an intentional walk and a dropped relay throw by 1st baseman Ibañez.

2005 Topps Heritage #217
That's right - 1st baseman Raul Ibañez.  You see, in the 14th inning, with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, Ryan Howard was called out on strikes when 3rd base umpire Scott Barry deemed his check swing had crossed the plane of the plate.  It hadn't and Howard tossed his bat away in disgust.  He may have also lobbed an F-bomb in the general direction of Barry, who promptly tossed him from the game.  Ridiculous.  First - Howard should know better.  It's the 14th inning of a crucial game in August in which your team has depleted its bench.  Check your emotions, bite your tongue and jog back to the dugout.  Second - Barry should be disciplined for the quick hook given to Howard.  Barry baited Howard, plain and simple, and the replays show that Barry was clearly "umpiring" with a chip on his shoulder.  (Ross Gload was also ejected from the bench post-Howard eruption, which is impressive considering he's on the DL right now.)

2010 Upper Deck #235
In any event, the ejection left the Phils without a first baseman.  Enter Ibañez, who had previously played 135 games at first, but hadn't played the position since May 2005 with the Mariners.  This left the Phils without a left fielder.  Enter Roy Oswalt, who became the first Phillies' pitcher to play the field since Billy Wilson played third base for one batter on August 6, 1971.  And wouldn't you know it, the first ball hit into play in the 15th was a fly ball right to Oswalt, who effortlessly recorded the out and received a standing ovation from the remaining fans.  Just another F7 on the score card.  Ibañez recorded the final 2 outs of the 15th with putouts at 1st.

Unfortunately, the novelty of having Oswalt in left completely wore off in the bottom of the 16th, when his spot in the order came up with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd.  It would have been an awesome story had Oswalt somehow managed to line one down into the right field corner to tie things up, but he grounded out weakly to third to end the game.

It's easy to blame the 3rd base umpire for this loss, but the truth is the Phillies scored a total of 2 runs in 16 innings.  The offense seems to be hitting the skids again and they'll try to get back on track tonight against their old friend J.A. Happ.


Section 36 said...

The Phils reallly had nobody else to put in left? I don't care if Oswalt is athletic. Clay Buchholz is the fastest runner on the Red Sox but they don't pinch run him...anymore. You don't have ace-type pitchers out there like that.

Jim said...

They were down to 4 starting pitchers - Kendrick (who was going to pitch the 17th), Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. It was going to come down to Blanton or Oswalt since Halladay was pitching tonight, and Oswalt is the more athletic of the two. It was pretty bizarre.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Oswalt is now 3rd on the LF depth chart!

Jim from Downingtown said...

I followed your link to the boxscore of that 1971 game. What a bizarre bit of managing by Frank Lucchesi!

At the start of the 8th inning, Terry Harmon (who had just pinch run for 1B Deron Johnson) took over at 3B, Don Money moved from 3B to LF, Oscar Gamble moved from LF to CF, and Willie Montanez moved from CF to 1B.

Then, after one out, Billy Wilson was moved from pitcher to 3rd base so that the Phillies could bring in lefty Joe Hoerner to pitch to one batter (Willie Stargell). After Hoerner strikes out Stargell, Wilson returns to the mound, and Bobby Pfeil comes into the game to play 3B.

So that situation was quite different than this week's game where Oswalt played LF, due to the Philies running out of position players. In the 1971 game, the Phillies still had Pfeil, Mike Ryan, Ron Stone, and probably one more player available (since teams typically carried 15 position players back then).

Lucchesi clearly made the move to keep Wilson in the game.

Jim said...

I think all those moves would have made Charlie Manuel's head explode!

Jayson Stark found that the last Phillies' pitcher to play the outfield was a guy from the '30s. But it was a little more common back then, which makes Oswalt's visit to left all the more unique.

Jim from Downingtown said...

I think all those moves would have made Charlie Manuel's head explode!

"Yeah, but at the same time...[insert Charlie Manuel all-purpose CYA statement here]"