History

Myers Dominant as Phillies Take 2-0 Series Lead

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Brett Myers confounded A’s hitters with his cutter.

Coming into this Series, most people fell on one of two sides of the debate: either the 1929 A’s were going to dominate because they had three future Hall of Famers in the middle of their lineup and another one on the mound, or the 2008 Phillies were going to dominate because the players of their era were bigger and stronger. And their pitchers, as Brad Lidge said, had a slider in their arsenal, which the A’s had never seen before.

The bigger/stronger thing is not as much of a factor as most people assume: Chase Utley is 6’1, 200 pounds, while Jimmie Foxx is 6’0″, 195 pounds.  And Cole Hamels is 6’3″, 195, while Lefty Grove is 6’3″, 190. Not much of a difference there.

But after two games, it seems like the pitching theory holds some water, because the A’s just can’t seem to touch the Phils pitching. In Game 2, it was Brett Myers who confounded the vaunted heart of the A’s lineup, pitching 7 innings and giving up only 4 hits. Yes, he did make the mistake of pitching Jimmie Foxx a fastball in the 2nd inning, which Foxx gladly turned into a souvenir for a fan in the left field bleachers. But after that Myers began relying on his cutter, which the A’s had never seen before, and no one except Max Bishop was able to touch it.

Earnshaw warming up before Game 2.

Earnshaw warming up before Game 2.

As we told you in the scouting report, Athletics starter George Earnshaw struggled with control, and the wildness bug hit him  in Game 2. He actually walked in a run in the 3rd, and then completely fell apart in the 8th. With the A’s trailing by only a run, and after recording two quick outs, Pedro Feliz ripped a liner into the left field corner of Shibe. At this point, Mack probably should have gone to his bullpen. He elected to stay with Earnshaw, though he was over 120 pitches at that point. Earnshaw proceeded to walk Greg Dobbs and Carlos Ruiz. J-Roll then followed up with a single into left center, and the Phils had stretched their lead to 5-2. The damage would have been worse, but Al Simmons made a spectacular catch of a Jayson Werth flyball into left. No surprise there. As legendary Giants manager John McGraw once said of the Milwaukee native, “Al Simmons proved to me  that he is a really great outfielder, especially when it comes to timing the ball. That wonderful sense of timing that makes him a great batter is plainly shown in his outfield work.”

Ossie Orwoll came into relieve Earnshaw in the top of the 9th, and things went from bad to worse. Chase Utley led off the inning with a shot to centerfield…no mean feet, considering that center field is a staggering 468 feet away from home plate (Worth noting: Babe Ruth hit 60 homers in 1927 while playing at a home stadium with a CF fence 408′ from home. Jimmie Foxx hit 58 homers in 1932 in a stadium with a CF fence 468′ from home.) After a Pat Burrell double, Shane Victorino hit a blast that just barely cleared the wall in left center to make the score 8-2. To make the loss even more disheartening, the game ended with the A’s big 3 (Cochrane, Simmons, and Foxx) going down meekly against Ryan Madson in the bottom of the 9th. If those same bats don’t wake up out of their funk in Game 3, this Series will be over a lot sooner than anyone predicted it would be.

GAME NOTES: You can check out the box score and the play by play here...After two games, Foxx, Cochrane, and Simmons are a combined 1-23…The A’s have only gone down 2 games to none once in a World Series. In 1914, they went down 2-0 on their way to getting swept by the “Miracle Braves”…in 5 innings of work thus far, the Phillies bullpen has given up 1 hit and zero runs…through two games, Max Bishop and Bing Miller have a combined 5 hits. The rest of the team is a combined 2-49 (.041)…Game 3 is scheduled for Monday night at Citizen’s Bank Park. The A’s have never played in a night game. The first MLB night game took place in 1935, as the Phillies lost to the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati...Ethel Waters, a Chester native who had a huge hit in 1929 with the song Am I Blue? sang the National Anthem.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Fat Joe

    October 27, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Anyone still thinking this series have any credibility ? It’s ridiculous even suggesting the As would lose two games in row against a very good but not great 2008 phillies.

    It would be interesting to see what adjustments the author did to the teams in the simulator. Has the whole slider issue been used an excuse to set higher pitcher skills on the Phillies rotation? And the physical aspect. Is it used as another excuse to give phillies a higher set of skills?

    I bet with this approach the 2008 phillies would beat the Yankees of Gehrig and Ruth.

    • schmenkman

      October 27, 2013 at 11:19 am

      I still don’t understand why it’s ridiculous for a very good team to beat a great team two games in a row. Happens all the time.

    • Johnny Goodtimes

      October 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Nothing has been changed or altered on the simulator. To be honest, I don’t even think it’s possible. We’ve used whatifsports.com. Let me know if you see any way to adjust stats in the program, but again, I don’t think you can.

      As for a team pulling off an upset in two straight games, I point you to the 2011 Division Series. Any doubt in your mind that the Phillies were the far superior team? This is baseball, not football. Can the Jaguars beat the Broncos twice in a row? Never. Can the Twins beat the Red Sox twice in a row? Absolutely. In fact, they beat them three times in a row this past May.

      I’m glad you’re following, though. And we’re still early…I have a feeling there are going to be a few more twists and turns before this one is finished.

    • Todd

      October 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Jeez, will you stop your whining and just enjoy this.

  2. Hap

    October 27, 2013 at 9:45 am

    According to Wikipedia, Chief Bender was credited with first throwing the slider. Bender played for the A’s from 1903 to 1917.
    I find it difficult to believe that pitchers in the 1920’s who were winning 20 games a year were doing it with just fastballs and curves.

    • Johnny Goodtimes

      October 27, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Below is a pretty concise history of the slider on ESPN. Even if Bender invented the pitch, he was an anomaly. Pitchers didn’t regularly start throwing the pitch until the 1930s. Thanks for following the Series! So far it’s been a bit shocking, but it ain’t over yet.
      http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=1786104

  3. Pamikedc

    October 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Sorry for being negative PN…but this is dumb

    The pass or play stuff is fun to read. Not this.

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