Top likely forgotten, yet crucial Philadelphia Phillies plays in 2008 World Series.
Who could forget the Geoff Jenkins leadoff double and Chase Utley’s deke throw to home in Game 5, or even Joe Blanton’s unexpected home run in Game 4? And, of course, Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske for the final out — preserving his perfect season and bringing the 28-year Phillies championship drought to an official end.
Even with these iconic plays, there are actually several more that were made in the series that greater increased the Phillies’ Championship Win Probability Added, or cWPA. Many of these important plays have been overshadowed, if not forgotten. Here are the top five, ranked in order of most to least cWPA.
1. Game 3: Wild pitch, error allows Eric Bruntlett to advance to third base.
Championship Win Probability Added: 8.26%
With the series evened, the Phillies entered the ninth inning of Game 3 in danger of falling behind two games to one in the series. Yet, southpaw reliever J.C. Romero shut the Rays down in order, striking catcher Dioner Navarro out swinging and forcing groundouts from Gabe Gross and Jason Bartlett.
Momentum kept swinging in the Phillies favor the next half-inning, and ultimately, the series. J.P. Howell began the latter half of the ninth inning by hitting Eric Bruntlett by a pitch. Grant Balfour entered in relief, but a wild pitch and an errant through from Navarro to second base allowed Bruntlett to advance to third base with nobody out.
Balfour intentionally walked Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs to load the bases. Then came Carlos Ruiz to produce walk-off heroics:
Bruntlett advancing from first to third base with nobody out — during the bottom of the ninth inning of a then-tied game and series — is the play that improved the Phillies’ probability of winning the 2008 World Series the most.