Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

World Series Tampa Bay Rays: Phils' Blanton finds niche

Joe Blanton pitches against the Dodgers during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, when the Phillies started him instead of sending Cole Hamels out on short rest.

Associated Press

Joe Blanton pitches against the Dodgers during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, when the Phillies started him instead of sending Cole Hamels out on short rest.

PHILADELPHIA — Joe Blanton wasn't who the Phillies were looking for when they sought a pitcher to bolster their starting rotation before the trade deadline. CC Sabathia ended up with the Brewers. But the Phillies were what Blanton was looking for.

Blanton and the Phillies are still playing, and they took out Sabathia and the Brewers in the process.

Blanton, 27, was 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA in 20 starts with Oakland before the trade, and though he was inconsistent in his regular season tenure in Philadelphia (4-0, 4.20 in 13 starts) he allowed just one run on five hits and struck out seven in six innings to clinch the NLDS over the Brewers and earned enough confidence from manager Charlie Manuel to start Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers with Philadelphia seeking a 3-1 series lead. Manuel could have used ace Cole Hamels on short rest. Philadelphia won though Blanton left trailing, 3-2.

His postseason performance has been heartening, Blanton said, after a season in which he felt he got in a "rut" at Oakland.

"The trade happens, it almost is like a new breath, because I was going to a new league, new team," said Blanton, scheduled to start Game 4 for the Phillies tonight at Citizens Bank Park. "It was almost like getting to start over."

WHAT?: Manuel joked on Friday that his team probably had more meetings than any in baseball, but apparently in none of them did it come up that Rays SP Matt Garza is right-handed. Manuel was asked Saturday if he considered tweaking his lineup after it produced one hit in its first 28 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"I thought about maybe switching (No. 4 hitter Ryan) Howard and (No. 3 hitter Chase) Utley, but when I go back to it, if you go look at their production against left-handed pitchers, they're as high as anyone on our team," he said. "Jayson Werth has 16 homers, he's got good numbers against lefties. But Utley and Howard, they've got numbers that go against lefties, and I didn't see any reason why to bust them up."

World Series Tampa Bay Rays: Phils' Blanton finds niche 10/25/08 [Last modified: Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  2. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers



  3. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  4. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?


    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  5. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance


    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.