June 7, 1948
They’ll have to play them eventually, but for today, the Philadelphia Athletics were able to avoid the Cleveland Indians. The streaking Tribe was looking to issue a four-game sweep to the Athletics, but were rained out instead.
About three hours before the scheduled game time, a heavy rain swept through Shibe Park for approximately 30 minutes. It was enough for the Mackmen management to cancel the game, despite the clear skies at the scheduled first pitch time of 8:30.
Instead, the Indians will board an earlier train this evening and travel to Boston to begin the second half of their east coast trip. Cleveland heads to Beantown for three games before finishing the journey in the Bronx for four games with the Yankees. The two teams may still be the largest hurdles for the Tribe to clear if they intend to win the pennant.
“But don’t sell the Red Sox short,” Indians manager Lou Boudreau warned. “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. They’ll hit their stride and when they do they’ll be rough. Maybe they’ve begun to hit their stride now.”
The Red Sox were also rained out today in Boston, but are now winners of five in a row and have worked themselves into a tie for fourth place. The Red Sox were the favorites of many writers to win the American League this season with new manager Joe McCarthy, but have struggled mightily in the first quarter of the season.
Boudreau will send Gene Bearden (5-1, 1.61) on Tuesday evening at Fenway Park. The Indians were planning to pitch Bob Feller tonight in Philadelphia, trying to earn the sweep, but instead will push him back to Wednesday after he threw eleven scoreless innings Friday night in Washington. Feller was going to pitch on two days rest tonight, but will get four full days now. Bearden only threw a little over six innings in his start on Saturday and should be more prepared to make the start on two days rest himself.
Boston’s Mel Parnell (1-3, 2.77) will oppose Bearden on the mound. The Beantown southpaw was a hard-luck loser on June 2, pitching a complete game but losing to the St. Louis Browns, 3-1. Bearden has beat the Red Sox in his only game against Boston this season. The Tribe has beat Boston five of six games to date this year, including three victories at Fenway Park.
After Bearden on Tuesday night and Feller on Wednesday afternoon, Bob Lemon is expected to wrap up the series on Thursday afternoon. Lemon will be looking for his league leading ninth victory of the year. Steve Gromek is slated to start the first game in New York after his complete game against the Athletics yesterday.
The Tribe has not used much in the way of relief pitching lately, with Bob Muncrief and Ed Klieman making only one appearance each in the road trip. But Russ Christopher is again healthy and available. Christopher had been hospitalized in Washington with a chest cold. The Indians and Christopher take extra precautions for the 6-foot, 4-inch, 160-pound sidewinder who has a weak heart. He was available in the Tribe bullpen yesterday if called upon.
Boudreau was clear that he would use Lemon and Feller in emergency situations out of the bullpen, too.
Jim Hegan is expected to catch Bearden on Tuesday night in Boston, but Joe Tipton will don the mask on Wednesday afternoon. Tipton has a hit in his last eight at bats dating back to May 30 in Chicago.