2. Game 4: Ryan Howard puts Phillies ahead big with 3-run home run.
Championship Win Probability Added: 7.17%
The Phillies got ahead to an early 2-0 lead in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, but a Carl Crawford solo home run in the top of the fourth cut their lead in half. In the next half-inning, first baseman Ryan Howard almost single-handedly ensured the Rays would not complete the comeback.
Facing right-hander Andy Sonnanstine, eventual franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins reached first to begin the bottom of the fourth thanks to the second of two errors in the game made by second baseman Akinori Iwamura. After walking Jayson Werth and striking out Chase Utley, Sonnanstine made a pitch to the “Big Piece” he surely still regrets to this day:
Howard’s clutch, three-run home run put the Phillies ahead 5-1. They would go on to win,10-2, thanks to Joe Blanton, Werth and Howard (again) all going yard to add onto the rout.
The Phillies went ahead three games to one in the series, with Howard producing perhaps a career-highlight night: 3-for-4 with two home runs and five runs batted in. The slugger went on to tell reporters after the game that his performance on baseball’s biggest stage was “the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid.”
According to the Championship Win Probability Added statistic, Howard’s first of two home runs in the game (three-run HR) is the second-most impactful play of the overall series that led to the team’s World Series victory.
The following evening would be the first half of the unforgettable Game 5.