With Aaron Nola on the mound, the Phillies probably had their best chance at sweeping the Reds, only for the ace to get pounded by a still-alive Joey Votto and the Reds offense. Down 5-0, the offense came roaring back, proving once again how difficult a time this team has firing on the same cylinder. Fortunately, the defense showed up to help out. Unfortunately, the bullpen did not.
With the Reds having reclaimed a 6-5 lead just after the Phillies had tied up the game, we sat on the verge of crucial moment. The Phillies offense had proven that they were there, despite being stymied by Trevor Bauer for a few innings, and scored five runs to climb out of a deepening hole. One run wasn’t as steep a challenge, but given the bullpen’s inclination to dig, one run had the chance of becoming more.
That chance seemed to grow more likely as Blake Parker threw an 0-1 pitch to Freddy Galvis with no outs in the bottom of the eighth. You remember lauded power hitter Freddy Galvis, don’t you? Sure you do, from his days of leading the Phillies lineup into thunderous attacks of opposing pitching. I’m being sarcastic, but Freddy was always good for a couple of bombs throughout the season. Remember 2016, when he was one of four Phillies with at least twenty home runs? The others were Ryan Howard, Maikel Franco, and Tommy Joseph. What a season.
Parker had entered the game in the seventh and had quietly retired the two batters he’d faced, so he about due for something discouraging. It appeared to have happened as Galvis made contact with a low, smooth swing, sending Parker’s offering high in the air to center with what looked to be an insurance run headed for the seats.
Haseley followed the ball to the warning track, leapt a few feet in the air, and stuck a cleat in the second “T” of the Toyota sign on the outfield wall. He stuck a backhand into a group of cowering Reds fans and then... something... happened.
“Did he catch it?” Tom McCarty asked on the TV broadcast.
“He... diiidd...” he went on, still deeply unsure.
“...CATCH IT, HE GOT IT!!!” McCarthy concluded as Haseley coolly flipped the ball out of his glove and into his hand, mid-trot.
It looked like the Phillies bullpen leaking another run. Instead, it was a catch so good it altered the passage of time.
“I think I was in shock,” Haseley said. “On camera it looks like it’s a lot longer, running in. But in my head it was …”
He snapped his fingers.
Galvis, almost to second base, had a look like a child watching a flower bloom in slow motion, and began a pointing gesture toward the outfield as Haseley made the reveal.
It’s been a real crapshoot in center for the Phillies this year, and seeing Haseley play the position has been a reminder of what an actual centerfielder can do out there. This was part of the reason why we all put fists into our bathroom walls when Haseley was sent down to the minors a few weeks ago for extremely normal reasons. The more we see of him out there for the remainder of the Phillies season, the better.
Parker was so jacked up about the catch that he raised a fist in celebration, and then commemorated the occasion by walking the next batter and giving up a home run to the pitcher. Then Nick Pivetta came into the game and immediately hit a guy. Then the game ended.