When the Phillies traded for Oakland’s Joe Blanton at last years trading deadline, many people were suggesting the Phillies didn’t get the right pitcher. Blanton’s good numbers over his career might have been exaggerated in the spacious Oakland ballpark. Pitching in cozy Citizen’s Bank Ballpark was supposed to equalize Blanton’s effectiveness.
But after Blanton became a Phillie, he proceeded to pitch better than ever. He went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA for the Phillies, and the eventual World Champions would go 9-4 in his 13 starts.
In 2009, after a disastrous April where Blanton went 0-2, 8.41 ERA in four starts, he has responded to go 9-4 the rest of 2009. And Blanton has truly dominated in July and August. In 10 starts since July 1, Blanton is 5-2, 2.15 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP, and his K:BB ratio over the last two months (only above 2.0 one other season) is an impressive 4:1.
At a time when the media has concentrated on the exploits of the newest Phillie Cliff Lee, the re-emergence of Cole Hamels to ace material, the signing of Pedro Martinez, and the continued development of JA Happ, it has been Blanton who has been at his consistent best since that terrible month of April.
And remember, Met fans, that Blanton could have gone to Flushing before the 2008 season, but Minaya declined that trade. Or in trading for Blanton at last season’s deadline. How good would Blanton look in spacious CitiField? And it is not the first time Blanton was overlooked by Omar. As a rookie GM in his first draft in 2002, Minaya picked Clint Everts over Blanton, Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Zach Greinke, Joe Saunders, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher and Matt Cain.
I love pointing out Minaya’s faults–of which there are many.
The Phillie rotation in October is going to be tough to beat, and with the possibility of Brett Myers returning from a hip injury to pitch out of the bullpen, the late innings will be tough to score also. In addition, Pedro could be moved to the bullpen — a little wrinkle Charlie Manuel could throw out there.
It could be long October and November in Philadelphia, and that is in a good way.