Philadelphia 4, Detroit 9
After a thoroughly unsatisfactory series against the White Sox, the Athletics now face their biggest test of the season: the mighty Detroit Tigers. Centered around Ty Cobb, who was in the midst of his prime years, the Tigers had won three straight pennants from 1907-1909. Though they fell to third in 1910, they seemed to be making up for lost time now. They were 25-5 and held an 8.5 game lead over Chicago going into this series with Philadelphia. Cobb was playing like a man on fire. He was hitting .400 as of today*, and one paper held him personally responsible for most of the team’s wins.
The Tigers were no doubt eager to prove their mettle against the defending champs and establish themselves as the team to beat in the American League.
The Tigers did, indeed, draw first blood: “Plank was batted all over the lot to-day, and Detroit took the opening game from Philadelphia by a score of 9 to 4. Delahanty’s hard hitting was a feature**.”
One of the reasons Lefty Russell started yesterday’s game was that Mack was saving Plank for the start of the crucial Detroit series. This was the worst start of the season so far for Gettysburg Eddie, who's been Mack's most reliable arm, throwing all three of the team's shutouts.
The Delahanty in question, by the way, was Jim, whose brothers Ed, Frank, Joe, and Tom also played in the majors. Jim had the second best career out of this brood; his oldest brother Ed, known as an early power hitter, is in the Hall of Fame***.
The A's have now lost five straight and after fighting their way up through the ranks from last place and are in danger of slipping back down to the second division.
* When a modern player hits this well 30 games in, you know that over the course of the long season his numbers will regress. Cobb was starting slow, however, and will end the 1911 season batting 20 points higher.
** 4-for-4 with two triples. That's a feature, all right.
*** Ed, who died in 1903 by being swept over Niagra Falls under mysterious circumstances, spent most of his career with the Phillies, and still holds franchise records for doubles, triples, and single-season batting average (.410). He is second in runs, stolen bases, and RBI.
[Today's source: http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/SportingLife/1911/VOL_57_NO_12/SL5712010.PDF]