Kentucky Joe Blanton‘s last appearance in a game of this magnitude was a magical one. Not only did he pitch 6 solid innings in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, giving up only 4 hits and 2 runs, but he also blasted a memorable home run that convinced many Phillies fans in attendance (myself included) that THIS was our year.
Game 4 of the Philly Dream Series did not turn out nearly as well. The Phillies got rocked, 10-1, as Big Joe was blasted for three runs in the first. Not long after a Mule Haas double in the 3rd, he was pulled from the mound to a chorus of boos and with the Phillies in a 3-0 hole.
That hole would get a lot bigger in the 5th when Chad Durbin got shelled for the 2nd time in two games. The heart of the A’s offense ripped the heart out of Durbin’s chest, as a leadoff walk to Mule Haas and consecutive hits by Cochrane, Simmons, and Foxx gave the A’s a touchdown lead. A single by Bing Miller brought home Foxx to add the extra point, and it was 7-0 by the time Durbin’s cold, lifeless corpse was dragged off the field. (The coroner’s report read “Death by Annihiliation”).
The A’s had no such mound issues, as Rube Walberg was virtually unhittable. The pitcher, who was discovered as a 25-year old throwing coal at fence posts, went from coal to diamonds, and on this day threw a gem. He mixed in his fastball with a solid changeup, but it was his electric curveball that sent the Phillies back to the dugout with buckled knees and bruised egos. The Phillies managed a pitiful three hits off of Rube, their lone run coming in the 4th when a Chase Utley single brought home Jimmy Rollins. Walberg would finish the night with a complete game, which was superlative but not surprising considering he threw a career-high 20 during the 1929 season.
Foxx, Simmons, and Cochrane pummeled Phillies pitching, as they combined to go 6-13, score 7 runs, and knock in 5 runs. Cochrane cracked two doubles, and Foxx smacked another one that nearly cleared the wall in left center. Their contemporaries in the middle of the Phils lineup weren’t nearly as prodigious, going 1-9, the only hit and RBI coming from Chase Utley.
As the momentum has shifted in the Series, questions are being raised about the heart of the Phils lineup (Utley, Howard, and Burrell). They’ve combined to go 8-43 (.186) thus far in the Series, with a mere 2 extra base hits. If those three don’t find their stroke, you have to think that the inevitable upcoming parade will be held North of City Hall.
GAME NOTES: You can check out the box score and play by play here…The road team has now won all four games. It’s the first time the visiting team has won the first four games of the Series since the 1996 World Series between the Yankees and Braves…Chad Durbin has a 27.00 ERA in this Series…Phillies starter Joe Blanton made $3.7 million in 2008. A’s starter Rube Walberg made $8,000 in 1929…Game 5 will be a rematch of Game 1, Cole Hamels vs. Lefty Grove at Shibe Park. The game is schedule for Friday afternoon.