After three straight walk-off wins by the playing-only-for-pride Phils, you had the feeling after Darin Ruf hit a two run moon shot to left-center to tie it up that the Brotherly Love Boys were going to set a franchise record four walk-offs in a row. Surely, when pitcher Tyler Cloyd led off the bottom of the 15th inning with a shot down the left field line for a double that would set the stage for victory. But alas it was not meant to be. The only franchise record set last night was the longest clock game in Phillies history, spanning 7 hours and 6 minutes. The losing pitcher was an outfielder and recent Phillies scrap heap acquisition, Casper Wells. Nor was this Casper’s pitching debut, having taking the mound for the ChiSox for a 1-2-3 9th inning earlier this year.
Despite his 91 mph fastball and changeup, and despite retiring the first two D-Backs he faced last night in the top of the 18th, Casper wasn’t able to keep the lid on. He was followed to the mound by fellow scrap heap pickup John McDonald. I’m sure both of these players are lovely fellows, but games aren’t won on personality. Here’s a graphic showing the list of the last 10 non-pitchers who have pitched for the Phils. It’s fair to guess that last night was the first time the Phils brought in a no-pitcher in relief of a non-pitcher.
Casper actually showed pretty good form out there last night. He kept the guys on the bench entranced, the fans in the stands chanting “Casper, Casper!”, and brought a rare smile to pitching coach Rich Dubee’s face before getting rattled by the D-Backs.
Well, it’s back to reality this afternoon for the Phils, as the shell-of-his-former-self Doc Halladay takes the mound and tries to eat a few innings to spare the bullpen. How banged up are these Phils? Erik Kratz is batting cleanup today. ‘Nuff said.
Though apparently not … turns out Casper had LASIK surgery in November that resulted in some lingering visual problems. So he’s headed to the DL, perhaps the first Phillies player in history to be DL-ed due to dry eyes!