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.
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.