The World Series Game 4 could all but end the series, or the World Series Game 4 could wipe the slate clean. World Series Game 4 was good to the Phillies last year, but now they know this is not last year. For this World Series Game 4, the Yankees are heavily favored to put the Phillies on the ropes and go up 3-1. After last night, and after the pitching matchup for Game 4 was set, everything would appear to be in the Yankees favor for World Series Game 4 – at least on paper.
World Series Game 4 isn’t an elimination game for the Phillies, but it is practically a do-or-die test. Down in a series for the first time in two years, after Cole Hamels’ most devastating meltdown yet, the Phillies are down 2-1 and have to face old foe C.C. Sabathia once again.
Before the World Series Game 4, Charlie Manuel ruled out the chance of sending Cliff Lee on three days rest. He named Joe Blanton the Game 4 starter instead, trusting that Hamels and Blanton could take care of business and give Lee a chance to wrap up a repeat. Instead, Blanton is trusted to save the season against Sabathia, and few are expecting it to happen.
With Sabathia not having to duel with Lee, and with the Phillies bats going ice-cold, the World Series Game 4 is projected to be part 1 of the Yankees coronation. However, just four days ago, the Phillies looked to be in total control, until the Yankees snatched it away. There is still time for momentum to shift again in this World Series, but it has to start in Game 4.
Blanton has been solid in the past, including in last year’s World Series Game 4 – where he even hit a home run to boot. Sabathia shut down the Phillies in Game 1, except for two mistakes, but now he gets to face the Citizens Bank Park crowd as well. If the Phillies get the upset, the World Series will be down to a best-of-three where anything can happen, starting with Lee battling A.J. Burnett in Game 5.
However, the Phillies may have an extra need to take the next two games, and not just split them. If things go to Game 7, there is almost no one the Phillies can use to pitch, with Cole Hamels no longer reliable. Yet if the Phillies don’t win the World Series Game 4, there will undoubtedly be no Game 7 at all.
Hamels may not be a big game pitcher anymore, but the Phillies as a team usually do much better against adversity. This is as good a time as any to prove it, and prevent the Yankees from getting World Series banner No. 27 ready.
The ultra-crucial World Series Game 4 starts at 8:20 p.m. est on FOX.
MLB.com- “Experience on Blanton’s side for Game 4”
Newsday- “World Series Game 4 preview”