Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blanton rocked again, Phillies fall to Mets

NEW YORK – Before people start filing out of Citizens Bank Park en masse, declaring the summer of 2012 a lost season with Roy Halladay joining Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for a length stay on the disabled list, consider this: When the Phillies won the World Series four autumns ago, they did it with a starting rotation of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick.
Even with Halladay lost for what’s likely to be two months with a right lat injury, the current rotation still boasts another Cy Young Award winner in Cliff Lee and a guy who looks like the 2012 Cy Young Award winner Hamels. They also have a closer who is putting up perfect save totals a la Brad
Lidge circa 2008.
Of course, the ’08 starting staff didn’t begin the way it ended. Following a disastrous 2007 season, Adam Eaton was in the ’08 rotation.

Eaton had a 5.71 ERA in 19 starts before being demoted. The guy who replaced him in the rotation that summer is currently doing a good job re-enacting the Adam Eaton role.
For the third straight start, Blanton was bludgeoned as the Phillies dropped a 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field Tuesday night.
Blanton, who began the month by hurling a three-hit shutout in Atlanta, has given up 20 runs on 28 hits in 14 2/3 innings in his last three starts.
Blanton was 3-2 with a 2.62 ERA in his first five starts of the season. In his last five, his ERA is exactly five runs higher: 7.62.
Overall, Blanton is 4-5 with a 5.05 ERA this season, the last of a three-year, $24 million deal – a contract that’s identical to the one the Phils gave Eaton five winters ago. Perhaps the Phils have come full circle and have to find an outside replacement for Blanton.
Blanton pitched himself into a hole from the get-go in Flushing.
He hit the first batter he faced and allowed back-to-back singles to the next to in quickly squandering a 1-0 lead. Trailing 3-2 in the fourth, Blanton retired the first two hitters before throwing four straight fastballs to New York pitcher Jeremy Hefner.
The fourth, an 89-MPH ball belt-high and over the heart of the plate, was ripped into the left field seats. Hefner’s first major league hit was a solo home run.
For some reason, Blanton remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, a half inning after the Phils trimmed their deficit to 4-3. Blanton built the deficit back up two batters in.
After eight-hole hitter Omar Quintanilla led off with his second double of the game, pinch hitter Scott Hairston followed with a two-run home run to give the Mets a 6-3 lead.
Blanton allowed one home run in his first six starts. He’s served up nine home runs in his last four starts, a span of 14 innings.
Among National League pitchers, only Atlanta’s Mike Minor has allowed more home runs this season, with 13.
While Blanton was unable to keep the game within reach, the Phillies offense didn’t do their part after scoring in each of the first two innings off Hefner. The rookie right-hander retired six straight and 10 of 11 after Brian Schneider ripped a second-deck, game-tying home run in the second inning.
The Phils best chance to get back in the game came in the sixth, when Juan Pierre led off with a single and Hunter Pence followed with a double that cut the deficit to 4-3. But with Pence on third – he advanced on an error – and no one out, the middle of the Phillies order couldn’t even hit a game-tying sacrifice fly.
Ty Wigginton grounded out third and Shane Victorino went down swinging before Placido Polanco flew out to left to end the inning with Pence stranded 90 feet from home.
But even if the Phils capitalized on their opportunities on offense, it’s fair to wonder if it would have mattered with Blanton on the mound. Blanton has allowed 123 total bases in 63 1/3 innings this season, the second most in the NL behind Jamie Moyer (125).
Blanton is also in the top in the NL in highest opponents’ batting average (.287, 10th) and OPS (.805, eighth).


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home