A’s Blast Blanton, Even Series, Snatch Momentum

Rube Walberg pitched a complete game 3-hitter

Rube Walberg pitched a complete game 3-hitter.

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.


After a slow start, Al Simmons is now 5 for his last 10 at-bats with 5 runs scored.

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.



  1. wbramh

    October 31, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Drats, I knew Joe Blanton would come back to haunt us, again!
    I don’t care what anybody says. I’m blaming this loss on RAJ.

    And those stupid Athletics can move to Kansas City for all I care.
    What’s that?… oh, never mind.

  2. Bruce

    October 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Allow me to momentarily interrupt the baseball fantasy thread here to bring a little dose of reality and good news. Contratulations to the Flyin’ Hawaiin, Shane Victorino for winning another gold glove, his FOURTH one. Also for coming up with another big crucial hit tonight. He slammed a 3-run double in the 4th inning to help his teammates, the bearded band of champions, win the World Series by a score of 6 to 1 over the Cards. Victorino is a winner, on and off the field.

    With Victorino’s growing collection of gold gloves, I wonder what Phillies’ GM, Amaro is thinking tonight (smile). After all, Amaro recently whined about the Phillies lack of defense in the outfield this past season.

    Finally, even though I’m a N.L. fan, my congratulations to the World Series Champions, the Boston Red Soxs and their MVP, Big Papi, David Ortiz.

    • hk

      October 31, 2013 at 7:07 am

      Did Amaro, who signed Delmon Young to be an everyday OF, really whine about OF defense? That’s like a farmer letting a wolf guard his hen house, then whining when all of the hens are dead the next morning.

      • wbramh

        October 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

        And defense in left and center wasn’t any better than Delmon in right.

        As far as RAJ was concerned the contest for a starter in right was over the moment Delmon was acquired and without even watching him run a wind sprint. Then again, Delmon didn’t want to run any wind sprints because it was still too cold in Florida for his delicate tootsies.

        As I recall, Charlie had to convert a backup infielder to find one player who had the tools to play outfield albeit not the necessary experience to play it well.

      • schmenkman

        October 31, 2013 at 11:28 am

        Ben Revere wasn’t great in center, but there is no question he was better than Delmon. He has enough speed and athleticism to make up for some of his bad routes. Still no arm to speak of, of course. Brown’s fielding stats were also better (or much better, depending on the stat) than Delmon’s.

      • wbramh

        October 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        Well yeah, each had his own strengths and weaknesses. Delmon often knew where he was headed but couldn’t get there. A briefly promising player some years back, now a case of steadily declining mediocrity in pursuit of truly awful.

        In the case of Ben (a truly nice guy), he reminds me of the old joke about the transAtlantic pilot making an announcement on the PA system, “I’ve got good news and bad news – the bad news is our navigation system is down and we’re totally lost. The good news is we’re making great time.”

        As for his Ben’s “arm,” he’d do better to kick the ball back to the infield. Yet he has flashes of brilliance out there. I suppose it’s not unlike a rank amateur photographer who for 1/64th of a second can accidentally become Ansel Adams.

        And Dom? Don’t get me wrong – I love him. For all his flaws and injuries he still lead the team in RBIs and HRs. Bless him and keep him safe! But for another guy with speed I can’t understand why he can’t get in front of the ball – even on those rare occasions when he turns in the right direction. Outfield 101. Perhaps he’s so blazingly fast that it just appears like he should have gotten in front of balls other outfielders wouldn’t have had a shot at reaching…….. nah! Plus those fly balls he reaches easily are immediately expelled by the springs in his glove. Excellent arm – and he needs it. I still believe he will improve with time. Trouble is, I learned these basic things in high school. Maybe pro coaches don’t revisit the basics.

        Where’s “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” playing these days? Making any noise with the bat? Winning any Gold Gloves? I wonder if he could play right field?

  3. bacardipr

    October 31, 2013 at 2:01 am

    If you scoured the blogs i think even here it was advocated to not resign Shane.

    • hk

      October 31, 2013 at 7:17 am

      I remember the blogs and comments representing a pretty even split on whether to trade Shane last July or to keep him and either extend him a qualifying offer or re-sign him. I know the topic was debated in the comments at Crashburn Alley where a few of us were on the “extend the QO” side and others thought he should be traded for whatever return they could get. I suppose that those on the “trade Shane and Pence” side at the time formed those opinions on the basis that someone better than Delmon Young would be signed to be the regular RF in 2013.

      • wbramh

        October 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

        I remember scratching my head when that deal went down. Primarily, I was surprised they dumped two out of three starters when there were no bona fide replacements available – at least not to cover both positions. Second, while I wasn’t Hunter’s biggest fan, I immediately wondered whether the Shane to LA deal was triggered by clubhouse problems rather than pure baseball sense… and I’m still wondering.
        We know he can win a pennant, a World Series and a Gold Glove at age 32. Are we missing something?

    • George

      October 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Opinions were definitely mixed on Victorino. He appeared to be declining with the bat, and was in the final year of his contract, so there were those issues. His defense has always been criticized due to some poor routes to balls. (Gold Gloves aren’t always the most reliable metrics.) Also, although a qualifying offer may have gained the Phils a prospect, trading him did the same or maybe better. The entire Victorino situation was debated, and obviously with his good year, it still will be.

      The only thing I’ll say is that I still think it was unwise to have granted Vic such a long, rather expensive contract. This season might just be the only really good one the Sox get out of him. We’ll see.

      • Lefty

        October 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        From what I read and hear on MLB Network, I don’t believe the Red Sox think they did sign VIc to a long term contract. They talk about how they re-tooled on the cheap with short contracts this season after unloading the real big 7 year type contracts of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzales and the like. My impression is that Gomes, Drew, Vic, and whoever else they got in FA this season seem like short cheap contracts in comparison- to the team and their fans.

        In terms of what he may or may not be able to produce the next 2 years- if you believe in fangraphs WAR/Dollar figures, he’s already earned 2 of the 3 years of his contract.

        I was and always will be a big fan of Shane Victorino, we could use a few more spark-plug type players like him. I understood why they felt the need to trade him/let him walk, and don’t place blame for it, but I’ll always be a fan.

      • wbramh

        October 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        “This season might just be the only really good one the Sox get out of him”

        True, but the same could be said for Dom Brown or Michael Wacha – or even Yasiel Puig.
        Or could have been said about David Ortiz 5 years ago.

        Most importantly for the Sox, their off-season pickups propelled them from the cellar to a World Championship in a New York minute. If any or all of those 5 or 6 off-season signings win another pennant, they probably see it as gravy. And if they were that smart last winter they might be just as smart this winter. Nothing like money AND brains. The Phils are halfway there.

      • George

        October 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm

        So what if the same could be said for Brown or whoever else? The contract for Vic wasn’t particularly long, but it was still something of a risk. Had he played in Boston as he’d played for the Phils in 2012, they’d probably be regretting it. I’m not criticising here, I’m only trying to point out that there were some questions even in 2012 whether Vic should have received a qualifying offer.

        There was a bit of luck involved in Boston’s “planning.” Napoli, for instance, was another risk; he could have had his hips quit. Winning makes anyone’s decisions look smart. If they keep the same team or retool the same way, but lose instead, then that “smart” will look a little more like “Amaro.”

  4. Ken Bland

    October 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

  5. jobangone

    October 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    No doubt, Shane was an integral part of the good times for the Phils, but at best he would have been a stop gap player and would’t have made a measurable difference this year or next ……..Glad for him to have another ring.

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