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Blanton Finally Rounding into Form

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 14, 2010 09:20 AM | Comments: 0
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

That headline offers as a play on words for you Joe Blanton weight-lovers. You affectionately call him “Cheeseburger” and “Fat Joe.” But I will say this; Blanton looks to be in damn good shape this year, and thats before I get into his latest streak of encouraging performances.

Let’s start with the losing. His name hasn’t been in the loss column since July 21, or 11 starts ago. In that same timeframe, the Phillies fourth starter’s ERA has dropped by more than a run (6.03 down to 5.00). To be fair, during that stretch, it hasn’t always been pretty. And let’s face it, even the best starts by Big Joe lack a certain aesthetic appeal. The important thing is, he’s gotten the job done.

He’s still giving up far too many base runners, sporting a 1.44 WHIP. There are also questions surrounding Blanton’s ability to get beyond the seventh inning, something he has yet to accomplish this season.

Looking at both sides of Blanton (the good and bad, stop joking about his weight), which do you see? Do you see the guy that has begun to emulate last years consistent number-three starter? Back then, Blanton strung together 11 consecutive quality starts, routinely getting to, or past, the seventh inning.

Or, are witnessing a can’t-get-worse scenario? As in, it couldn’t get any uglier with him pitching, so his season could only go north from his 7.28 ERA in mid-June.  Which man is he? Is he someone you would trust with a fourth starters spot in the playoffs, behind the ultimate trio of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt? That’s where it gets dicey.

I’m not certain he’s proven to be close enough to their level to be counted on as a starter in the postseason, should that time come. You could be looking at a three-man rotation scenario, because as well as Joe has pitched as of late, there are just too many concerns. Still, it’s good to see him back, and there are a few weeks remaining to change the minds of the nay sayers.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1600 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    It’s an interesting question… I think if Blanton keeps it up, Charlie will probably go with 4 starters in the playoffs, assuming we get there. Last year there was a long stretch where he looked to be our No.2 and a strikeout machine, so the guy can definitely put up some good numbers. It’ll all depend on his next several starts.

    I also heard on MLB Network that Hamels has been the 2nd half’s BEST starter in the entire league, if not baseball. They were choosing their 2nd half All-Stars. Not too surprising, considering he has a philthy 2.01 ERA, striking out 81 in 76 innings, and opponents only hitting .200 off him.

    That is just nasty.

    In other news, has anyone been following Carrasco? Apparently he has been pretty good, shutting down the Twins for 7 innings and putting together 3 quality starts (his first 3 of 2010) in a row. That’s for everyone who thought the kid was “trash” and that he was no good. People got offended when I compared him to Aumont. Now, all I hope is that Aumont can do something like that eventually. If you can shut down a hitting team like the Twins, you’re pretty good in my book.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Blanton is a decent #3 starter, but the best 4th starter in baseball . He pitched well last night, kept the ball down all game. His high pitch count was not a true indicator of how well he pitched – the strike zone was high (for both guys), Blanton didn’t give in. If you are going to just miss, miss low.

    We’re a little spoiled by H2O, who pitch into the 8th every time out. A quality start (don’t really like the term) is pitching 6 innings 3 runs or less, which Joe has done regularly.

    A little premature to set up the postseason rotation, but I’d play it by ear right now. If up 2-1, pitch him, give the other starters a break. If 1-2, have to pitch Doc.

    Nice to see the bats come out, good news on Jimmy (I’d still sit him the rest of the Marlins series, 1st game of Wsh, then start him the next two). Although the bats are getting hot, time to start resting guys for the Atl series. Would like to see PP, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Ib get at least 1 game off over the next 5. If Werth stays hot, leave him in.

     
  • [...] Phillies Nation [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt Kwasiborski

    Blanton has proven to be a pretty solid 2nd half picther. I think he is rounding into form a bit later because of his injuires. He is what he is advertised: solid, and keeps you in the game for the most part. I would like to see him get through the 6th and 7th more consistently but I have been pleased with him ever since we got him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Wis

    Fat ji-doe is a scary looking cheeseburger that’s for sure. I cringe at every pitch.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Everyone was trashing him early on, but I knew that the DL stint to start the season was affecting him and that he would eventually come around. It’s good to see. Still…the dude throws a lot of pitches, huh?

     
  • Posts: 0 fred

    I dont think you can start Blanton in the playoffs if you can avoid it. With both Halladay and Oswalt prepared to pitch on short rest then you don’t need to run the risk of putting Blanton out there. Blanton is what he is, an average pitcher who does a good job, not walking many and keeping us in the game. Its maybe not worth the $7 million a year he earns, but i guess thats what you have to pay for a ‘proven innings eater’ these days. But still, i’m not too keen on pitching someone with an era of 5 in the playoffs. Saw Blanton pitch last week against the marlins and he did a decent job, but against an offense such as Colorados or Cincinattis he could get lit up, and when you look at the Giants #4 starter (Sanchez) you get the feeling that matchup favours the Giants. Gotta go with the big 3 if you can this year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    AWWWWWwwwwwwwww leave Sloppy Joe alone.

    He is what he is. Frankly, being the #4 guy with this rotation is nothing to be ashamed of.

    He’s pitching the best he has all year. The bottom line is that he’s not going to shut anyone out. As long as we put our hitting shoes on…….we’ll be fine.

    In terms of the playoffs, personally I think it’s a trade-off between not being Sandy Koufax and the fact that you’re more or less unknown to the teams you’re facing. (That comes straight from the silver lining dept.)

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Don’t think we should go with 3 in the playoffs. Halladay is on pace to throw more innings this year than in any year since 2003; 7 years ago!!!!!

    I don’t care what shape he’s in – you’ll start to wear down at some point. And then you’re going to put him on short rest? The playoffs represent a full additional month of baseball.

    Some will make the case that a Doc running on fumes is still better than Joey B fully rested.

    Not so sure.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    It was great to see Joe Blanton pitch well last night. I hope he continues to keep the ball down and throw strikes for the remainder of the season. He is a much needed asset, especially with Kyle Kendrick really struggling now. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, and Joe off the french fries and cheeseburgers.

     
  • Posts: 0 fred

    I agree that if Halladay really is gassed then he shouldnt go on short rest, but the phillies are genuinely one of the top teams in the game right now, and if they can get the big 3 going in order throughout the playoffs then it gives them a great chance to win. Hopefully they sweep the NLDS anyway, then we won’t have to worry about it until the NLCS !

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Blantons got it? Let him get past the 6th inning. Cant pitch 7 innings or he gets lit up. Remember the Marlins already quit.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I’d argue that the Marlins have a better offensive team than anyone else in the NL playoffs (SF has no one that can match Hanley, Uggla, and Morrison), except that Ramirez seems to have given up. Joe’s pitch total last night was very misleading – while the ump was consistent, he had a high strike zone with no corners.

     
  • Posts: 0 fred

    The marlins offence is pretty good, but not close to Cincy, Colorado or even the braves. Completley different in october at coors infront of a packed house than at miami infront of a man and his dog.

     
  • Posts: 0 branderson

    always gave joe a lot of slack since the a’s are my second team but I can’t say I’m happy with his performance this year. I thought his ERA would be in the ballpark of 4.25. That WHIP is pretty bad too.

    I don’t know how much slack I can give him as far as letting him pitch in the playoffs. An inning or two here and there might be alright but then again he has been known to explode the first inning he enters the game.

    Still like Heavy B

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I like what Joe Blanton gives us, for a fourth starter. But that is all he is, and I think we should not expect him to be anything more. I think we over paid a bit for him, but he is serviceable. The most important thing he can do for us is eat 5-6 innings during his start, (seems he’s well practiced at the art of eating) and if he can keep giving us that, IMO that’s more than acceptable.

    My problem with Joe is how Charlie continually tries to push him into the seventh inning, usually allowing him to bat 3 times. In a close game (not like last night when the third AB came early) he should never bat a third time! Let him give us what he’s got, (5-6 solid innings) accept it, and then get him out of the game before he self destructs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    easy to say get him out of the 6th inning but then you have a horrible pen. lets face it outside of madog and and lidge you have nobody. we had a 10 run lead the last time and we gave up 6. then last night we gave up 3 more. you need a couple pitcher to get you to the 8th. not easy.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    We need the bat in the line-up.

    Can’t look at Joe’s season stats (or anyone else for the matter) – go the last 10: 4.01 era, averaging 6+ innings, only had 1 real meltdown. 4W, 0L, 6 ND (4W, 2L). Not electric, but on most staffs, this would be a solid #3.

    With Blanton, after the 4th inning, back to back hard hits, pull him. He gives plenty of warning when he’s done, Charlie gives him too long of a leash.

     
  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    You have to admit, Joe does his job against the teams were supposed to beat. Can’t ask for much more from a 4th starter.

    Cole Hamels is pitching BETTER than he did in 2008! Hope he continues his streak with a shutout AGAIN tonight!!

    Let’s fillet some fish

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Ever notice Charlie doesnt like to change?
    Hes been very successful in the playoffs not using guys on short rest.
    Why would he change now? Not happening.
    I agree 100% with how Charlie handles that.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    The only way I see short rest is in a game the phils face elimination.

    Drabek is starting for the Jays tomorrow

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Joe really isnt that big anyway. Its just for fun.
    Phils still have that best record in the national league.
    Be nice if colorado lost some more games.
    And dont sleep on the Reds. I think the phils beat them in a series but they are pretty good.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I don’t advocate short rest, but use KK in long relief instead of the fearsome foursome (Herndon,Bastardo,Contreras,Romero)

    I had high hopes for Romero before he got hurt, he never just returned to form. And in the early season I liked Contreras too, that ship has sailed.

     
  • Posts: 0 Philly Texan

    I like going with four starters and I think Charlie does too. If we get into the World Series, and need a win, then we can pitch Doc or Oswalt on three days rest.

    But I don’t like the idea of pitching those guys, at their age, on three days rest for the entire postseason. Even CC begins to wear down under that workload.

    Cincy has a scary offense. The Braves? I’m not sure. They’re inconsistent and I could envison Blanton shutting them down.

    And let’s not forget that two of the teams playoff contention are SF and San Diego, and neither can hit a lick.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Jeff we have three pitchers capable of getting us into the eighth, thats pretty good! If JB can get us 6, I’m happy. But I agree the pen is scary. Like to see KK more for long relief.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Lefty,

    Couldn’t agree more about the pen. Getting from the 6th to the 8th has been problematic all year. At the beginning of the year I was hoping Herndon could be that guy but…………..

    Which is why you can’t blame Cholly for sticking with Joe as long as he does. The only one who should have a short leash is Kendrick. When he starts going south, which is usually after he finishes his warmups at the start of the game – throw Whoopsie the Wonder Aardvark out there if you have to – just get that guy out the game. Few things are more distressing than starting the 4th inning down five runs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I’d say that Durbin and Contreras are somewhat reliable as 6th, 7th inning guys. I’m also hoping (and I’m almost certain) that at least one of Romero, Baez, and Bastardo steps up to the occassion.

     
  • I dont like the idea of blanton pitching in the playoffs,but he has done it before.As much as some of you would like to get guys some rest its not going to happen,we are in a race for the division.With the big 3 we should be in great shape!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 NickFromGermantown

    Cheeseburger Joe is definitely stepping it up. He needs to keep on it and keep improving to help this club out.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Does the NLDS schedule go like this:
    Home (1)
    Home (2)
    off
    Away (3)
    Away (4)
    off
    Home (5)

    I think so and if that is the case, I guess it really depends on who starts game 1 if JB is not going to pitch game 4. Either of the 3? I honestly do think that Doc could use a blow. Him starting game 2 then game 5 if needed would be enough rest. There giving either Cole or Oswalt the first and 4th games with the short rest.

    NLCS is different – same format as the WS:

    Home (1)
    Home (2)
    off
    Away (3)
    Away (4)
    off
    Away (5)
    off
    Home (6)
    Home (7)
    It almost seems necessary to start JB in the away game 4 so that King Cole and his Roy-al court could be ready for the remainder. I too dont like short rest, the playoffs are brutal. Let there be 4 starters, Joe as #4.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I trust Durbin, Madson and Lidge to do the job 80% of the time.

    Phillstien-Whoopsie the wonder aardvark? LOL

    Manny- I was a big supporter of Contreras early in the season, not so much now, but agree about Chad. As for the rest, hoping one steps up on occasion is all we can do now.

    And JPB- I like it. Rest is for the offseason Hellllll yeahh!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Brooks,
    I’m stupidsticious so I don’t like to talk about post season yet, but yes NLDS is a 2-2-1 format.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    NO Postseason talk.

    Yes, I myslf was guilty of that earlier….so, I’ve stopped.

    Remember in 2007, going into the last series against the Fish – when the Mutts started configuring Shea for the start of the postseason by removing some seats.

    I said to myself at the time – NOT a good move. No tempting the baseball gods.

    We have 6 games left with the Cox suckers so………………

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah, can we just get a playoff berth first before we start talking about schedules and rotations for the postseason?

    We only have a one game lead….and the Braves aren’t going away quietly.

    In fact, there’s 6 serious teams vying for 4 spots. The Phillies or Braves win the division. And if they don’t win the division…they have to compete with the Padres, Giants and Rockies for the Wild Card (depending on who wins the West)

    It’s too tightly bunched to be that positive about a spot yet.

    I do like our chances, though.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Tonight’s matchup

    Hamels vs. Adalberto Mendez

    Who?

    28 yr old with one career under his belt.

    Went 6 and beat the Phillies last week 7-1

    Don’t you hate when the Phillies go into a slump sometimes and can make any pitcher look like the second coming of Sandy Koufax?

    Anyway – he was the pitcher who belly flopped at the plate and hurt himself running to first later on. This was the first game of that doubleheader that the Phillies split. Worley took the loss.

    Hopefully – seeing him for the second time in a week means that the Phillies might get more than a couple of hits off him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The Phillies SHOULD be able to crush this guy. Second time around. Let’s get Cole another win!!! Dude needs a winning season (even if wins for a pitcher is an overrated stat).

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    You guys are right. It felt weird composing it.
    Take the Kaibosh off!

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    We arent the Mets.
    My stupidstitions tell me that I can say it. I can say Roy has a perfect game in the 9th. I can talk about a playoff rotation and even a WS.
    I have my little things. There is one that is crucial. Every other tuesday the cleaning lady comes and I have to “move” it but I try to remember to get it back in place. But sometimes I forget and low and behold they lose and even 2 in a row if i really forget and am not focused.
    I respect some of you cant. I am able to say I dont want this bridge to collapse before I go over it. I work opposite. Kinda.

    The phils are making it relatively easily. Best record in NL will be relatively easy.

    They should hit this guy tongiht. If not then playoff teams should trade for him to face the phils in the playoffs.
    Usully they cant hit without Rollins. that last game rollins was out. but the team seems to have turned the corner. No more not hitting really for any reason. They seem to be on the take care of business roll.

    You can go back in history and see all pitchers numbers on reg and short rest. Short rest isnt good. The Spankees got very lucky last year. Every ball they hit in the WS was inch faie and every one the phils hit was one inch foul. Also the phils trade lee and pedro and a crappy Hamels for Halladay Oswalt and the best Hamels ever. I like the phils chances this ear. you go short rest in an elimination game. And any game 7 is by definition an elimination game.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    ALSO, I think that they changed the NLCS and ALCS format this year by removing that extra off-day between Games 4 and 5.

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    i really dont want to start an ego bloating session, but is cole/oswalt/halladay is one of the best pitching trios of all time? what other trios have been as good? maddux/glavine/smoltz…

     
  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    probably a bunch of yankees…

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Cheeseburger has been pretty solid… he has gone into the 6th inning in all but 3 starts this season. Since June 18th’s he’s compiled a 6-1 record with a 4.01 ERA and the Phillies are 12-5 in his starts over that span… over that span, he has pitched into the 6th in all but one start… not too bad. Has he been great? No but he’s serviceable as a #4 starter and he’s getting stronger. He did have one bad outing against Colorado in September where he couldn’t get out of the 6th inning but a lot of pitchers have had bad outings in Colorado ESPECIALLY in September against Colorado. And I saw a pitcher that day who was pissed that he couldn’t put it together… that’s what I like about Joe. He really does seem to take it personal. That’s probably why he is prone to 1 inning meltdowns (he can’t refocus when things start going bad) but I’ll take him as a #4 over most.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It’s games like tonight that the Phillies HAVE to win. Period.

    Down the stretch with a slim lead and other teams right there for the Wild Card….you gotta take these games.

    Who do the Braves have tonight? Nationals. In Atlanta. JJ pitching.

    You can’t afford to waste a game like tonight with the good chance that the Braves will win their game. The Phillies need to be patient and they can hit this guy Mendez. Just keep doing what they did last night and they will be fine.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    McNally/Palmer/Cuellar
    I’d say that Palmer and Doc are most closely aligned. Cuellar was excellent for about 4 or 5 seasons, McNally did not have overwhelming stuff but he was always around the plate. When they were teamed up, with that offense they were on top of the game.
    Drysdale, Koufax ???
    Juan Maracial, McCormick, ???
    Wynn, Lemon, Feller?
    That’s a really good question -

    The Yanks in the 50′s and early 60′s had the most potent offense in baseball. Other than Whitey Ford and occasional AS, their pitching was more average to above average – not outstanding like the Phils. In the mid to late 70′s they had Guidry and an occasional AS but never 3 that were this good. In the late 90′s they had David Cone, Roger Clemens and Andy Petite (towards the end) – that would is some mighty fine company.

    Really compelling question ActuallyChilled!

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillistein

    Nats have Livan Hernandez going against Jurrjens. Hernandez no pushover but he has a rocky record against the Cox suckers. Jurrjens got lit up in his last start against St. Louis.

    As always

    AS ALWAYS – the Fightins just need to take care of their own bithness and not worry about anything else.

    Hamels should keep us in the game so……tonights cry:

    EVERYBODY HITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    That is what really gets to me about this team Chuck – the Reds took care of their division trash – they cleaned up playing Milwaukee, Chicago, Houston & Pittsburgh, they did what they had to do vs the lower tier teams. The Phils on the other hand are still in a race because of how they played teams like Pittsburgh, Houston and Chicago. If they did not screw around, there would not be a race right now.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    The braves are facing Hernandez tongiht and Lannan tomorrow.
    At leaast they are major leaguers.
    Nats get at least 1 possibly maybe both.

    National League Championship Series Series Date Network Air Time (ET)
    NLCS Game One Saturday, October 16 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Two Sunday, October 17 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Three Tuesday, October 19 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Four Wednesday, October 20 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Five* Thursday, October 21 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Six* Saturday, October 23 FOX TBA
    NLCS Game Seven* Sunday, October 24 FOX TBA

    World Series Series Date Match-Up Network Air Time (ET)
    Game One Wednesday, October 27 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Two Thursday, October 28 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Three Saturday, October 30 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Four Sunday, October 31 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Five* Monday, November 1 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Six* Wednesday, November 3 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
    Game Seven* Thursday, November 4 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    1966 Los Angeles Dodgers
    Sandy Koufax (27-9, 1.73), Don Drysdale (13-16, 3.42), Claude Osteen (17-14, 2.85)

    1993 Atlanta Braves

    Greg Maddux (20-10, 2.36), Tom Glavine (22-6, 3.20), Steve Avery (18-6, 2.94)

    1971 Baltimore Orioles
    Mike Cueller (20-9, 3.08), Pat Dobson (20-8, 2.90), Jim Palmer (20-9, 2.68), Dave McNally (21-5, 2.68)

    1988 Mets: David Cone (20-3, 2.22), Dwight Gooden (18-9, 3.19), Ron Darling (17-9, 3.25)

    1929 A’s: Lefty Grove (20-6, 2.82), George Earnshaw (24-8, 2.82), Rube Walberg (18-11, 3.59)

    1972 A’s: Ken Holtzman (19-11, 2.51), Catfish Hunter (21-7, 2.04), Blue Moon Odom (15-6, 2.50)

    Yea thats 4 orioles there. Pick any 3

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Oh yea and we handed those 93 braves some ass in the playoffs.
    Milt Thompson my favorrite 1993 phillie

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Right. If they didn’t screw around and lose games they should have won there would be no race. But, also, the injuries. I mean, seriously, how crazy it it that this team is where it is right now considering all the injuries AND the games they pissed away.

     
 
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