Phils Win Despite Blanton’s Blunders

May 25th, 2012 by AmyMac | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.

By Amy McGinnis

Last night’s game in St. Louis was a great example of why I love baseball.  After just two innings, the Phils had a six run lead; the Cardinals’ offense started to heat up just as Joe Blanton started to unravel, though, and soon enough, the lead was gone.  Just like that – gone.  I’m happy to say that our offense kept up, and the two teams went quid pro quo each inning.  When it was all said and done, Phils won 10-9.  Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Papelbon was set to face Freese, Molina, and Boggs.  Yes, I cursed when I figured that out.  Papelbon shut it down, though, and picked up his 13th save.

During the bottom of the third inning, when Big Joe started to go downhill, I thought to myself, “And there’s Charlie, doing nothing about it.” I needed to face facts, though.  What could be done at that point? Go to the bullpen? That would have had “disaster” written all over it.  I suppose keeping Blanton in was the lesser of two evils.  St. Louis’s lineup is no joke.  We saw homers – the kind of homers that, upon contact, you say, “That’s leaving the park.” – by Freese, Molina, and Holliday.  I can’t see our bullpen surviving six innings of the Cards’ offense.  It wasn’t Blanton’s best performance, by a long shot, but things could have been worse.  Let me put it this way: Joe Blanton is not my biggest concern with this team.

Right now, the issues that need to be addressed – and fixed, for shit’s sake – are the bullpen and this “let’s strand every runner possible” crap.  What the hell is going on in our bullpen? Is Mick Billmeyer seeing the same thing I’m seeing? Maybe his binoculars would help.  I have very little confidence in our relief pitching.  As for our offense, the Phils seem to be getting runners on base but leaving them there.  I hate this pattern.  I should probably say that louder.  I.  HATE.  THIS.  PATTERN.  If I see much more of it, I might lose my mind.  Shitting the bed with 2 outs and RISP isn’t a trend I enjoy watching.

Looking at Joe Blanton, I suppose I don’t see why so many fans hate him so much.  Okay, he’s not stellar, but even the Pope would pale in comparison to the Doc-Cliff-Cole trifecta.  He’s generally pretty competent, and I think he’s a decent #5 pitcher.  It’s not fair to compare him to our three aces.  Their stardom sort of eclipses him, anyway.  Remember that press conference last season with Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt and Blanton? Big Joe was pretty quiet.  He had that “I don’t really belong here … can I go get lunch?” look on his face.  Cole had to remind reporters that he wasn’t the only one with a ring – Blanton has one, too.  Even through all the talk, though – unload him and eat some of that salary, just get rid of him – he stayed quiet.  He did his job.  I’ve always liked Blanton’s attitude, and last night’s performance notwithstanding, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by him this season.  Sure, his W-L record is 4-4, and sure, he has a neck that has those bulldog wrinkles.  We all know that a W-L record isn’t an accurate picture of a pitcher’s performance, though, and I for one don’t give a shit if Joe Blanton is fat.  I care more that his ERA for the season is 4.55 and his WHIP is 1.256 – both of those numbers are better than what they were the past two seasons.

This is going to be a tough series in St. Louis, and not because Joe Blanton isn’t a contender for Cy Young.  It will be tough because our bullpen is a trainwreck and our offense likes to get on base and stay there.  The good news is: Cliff Lee is on the mound tonight.  The bad news is: our lineup gives him no run support … and Kyle Lohse is pitching for St. Louis.  If last night is any indication, though, then anything can happen.  That’s one of the great things about baseball.


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