July 15, 1948
The Cleveland Indians head east for a lengthy 15-game road trip through the east coast American League cities, starting with a four-game series beginning Thursday against the Philadelphia Athletics. It is the third time the Indians have headed out on an east coast swing this season.
The Indians (45-28) arrived in the City of Brotherly Love with just a half-game lead over the second place Athletics and a two and a half game lead over the third place New York Yankees. They have fared well against the A’s this season, posting an 8-3 record so far against the Connie Mack-led squad. They have won three in a row against the A’s.
The Athletics (48-32) will host the Indians for the third time this year. They have been in a seesaw battle with Cleveland throughout the first half of this season. Mack announced Wednesday that plans are in the works to expand Shibe Park, the home for the Major League’s Athletics and Phillies and the National Football League’s Eagles. A new bleacher section will be added in right field that will be a double-deck affair and, in combination with the addition of new box seats, should add at least 12,000 more seats to the heavily-used venue.
Bob Lemon (13-7, 2.39 ERA) is expected to start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader for the Tribe against Phil Marchildon (6-6, 4.82). Lemon is 2-1 on the month and is coming off of a complete game three-hitter in his last start. Marchildon allowed ten earned runs and 15 hits against Cleveland in a complete game loss back in late June.
Steve Gromek (2-1, 3.63) will appear in the other game against Dick Fowler (8-1, 3.81). It will be the second start of the season for Gromek, who has pitched almost exclusively in relief. Fowler is 1-1 on the season against Cleveland and has allowed 14 earned runs over 17 2/3 innings pitched against them.
Bob Feller (9-10, 3.57) will take the mound on Friday night, looking to even up his season win-loss totals at ten apiece. The Indians veteran and one-time ace has struggled at times this season, as he has allowed four earned runs or more in seven different starts on the year. Lou Brissie (8-6, 4.29) was unable to make it out of the second inning in his only start against the Indians in mid-May.
Sam Zoldak (4-5, 4.03) will make his fourth start of the season for Cleveland on Saturday since being acquired in June from the St. Louis Browns. He will be countered by Joe Coleman (8-6, 3.76), an All-Star for the American League this season on the mound for Philadelphia.
The Indians undoubtedly will look for offense from their shortstop and skipper Lou Boudreau. Boudreau has been at the top of the American League batting average picture throughout the first half of the season and was honored for his efforts with an All-Star appearance of his own. He is batting .355 entering battle against the A’s with eight home runs and 54 RBI. He has 53 walks to just four strikeouts on the season.
The Indians have two of the top three sluggers in the AL. Ken Keltner leads all junior circuit batters with 20 home runs on the season. Following the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio, sitting with 18 blasts, is Tribe second baseman Joe Gordon with 16.
Following the completion of the series, the Indians will head further east to take on the Senators in Washington, D.C. for four games before heading to New York and Boston to round out the road trip.
Photo: Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library