Note: Here's what happened... to anticipate the end of a game, we writerly types work ahead. That's how newspaper guys beat their deadlines and how us web dudes get stories online seconds after the final pitch. Needless to say, this practice can often create headaches if an unforeseen rally or comeback occurs.
In those situations it's not unusual to hear someone shout across the press box, "REWRITE!" That's actually old-timey talk, but it has a better ring to it than, "Highlight, delete!"
So on Wednesday night I had been working ahead and put together a skeleton of a story to fo as soon as the Phillies-Reds game was to end in the 10th inning. The plan was to send the story, gather some quotes and sprinkle them in while changing around some of the details that reflect the mood of the team or the scene in the clubhouse.
Since the Phillies' clubhouse is typically a ghost town after games, that leaves us with cobbling together a quote or two.
Anyway, before Ryan Howard belted a solo home run to tie the game in the 10th before it went to 19 innings and the wee hours of the morning, I came up with this story -- compare it to the one I filed after 3 a.m.
This one is about the game that never really happened.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
By John R. Finger
If there is one thing the Phillies’ pitchers learned about the first three games of the four-game set is that when Jay Bruce strolls to the plate, they should run and hide.
Just run and hide.
For the second night in a row, Bruce came up in a key spot with the game on the line only to deliver a crushing base hit. Actually, in Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Phillies, Bruce had two clutch hits in the late innings.
One to tie and one to win.
The game-winner was a solo homer off reliever Antonio Bastardo that barely cleared the chain-linked fence above the out-of-town scoreboard. That shot—Bruce’s 13th of the season and second of the series—was the one that sent most of the sellout crowd at the Bank scurrying for the exits.
Regardless, it was Bruce’s other big hit on Wednesday night that did the most damage.
It was a situation that Roy Halladay has been through a few times since joining the Phillies, yet always seemed to come out alright on the other side.
With one out with the bases loaded in a two-run game and the heart of the Reds’ order due up in Wednesday night’s tilt at the Bank, Halladay was in a precarious spot, but not one that had too many folks worried. After all, this was Roy Halladay on the mound. Who cared if the Reds had already bashed out 10 hits in the seventh inning?
So after putting away cleanup hitter Scott Rolen on four pitches, Halladay got ahead quickly on Jay Bruce with three fastballs. The end was one pitch away for Halladay and the Phillies. No way was Halladay going to give up a two-run lead with two outs and two strikes on a hitter.
But Bruce wasn’t just some ordinary hitter. In fact, he may be the hottest hitter going these days. Not only did he have 13 hits and nine RBIs in his last 26 at-bats heading into that showdown against Halladay, but also clubbed a bases-loaded double with two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game just the night before.
Bruce got out in front of the two-strike changeup ever-so slightly — just enough to bounce the ball away from the grasp of second baseman Wilson Valdez and into right field for the game-tying single.
That shows just how good Bruce has been. If he can wrst away a two-run lead from Halladay, with the way he has been pitching, then maybe that run and hide advice isn't too far off.
Up next: The Phillies close out the four-game series with the Reds, as well as the nine-game homestand, on Thursday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. start. Cliff Lee (3-4, 3.38) will take the mound against righthander Homer Bailey (3-1, 2.08).
Lee is coming off his first win in more than a month where he spun a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. In eight career starts against the Reds, lee is 4-2 with a 4.69 ERA, however, last June the lefty tossed a complete-game shutout while pitching for the Mariners.