If ya cant beat em they must be cheating right. Well thats exactly what skipper Joe Maddon thought of Phils starter Joe Blanton. Blanton got off to a sizzling start in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night. He was so good, in fact, that Rays manager Joe Maddon became suspicious of the Phillies right-hander.
Blanton struck out three batters in the first two innings and four of the first eight men he faced and had some great movement on his pitches. The movement, combined with a visible discoloration on the top of the bill of Blanton’s cap, gave the Rays reason to try to put two-and-two together. Television close-ups of Blanton revealed some sort of dark spot on the cap. A similar spot was visible on the bill of Blanton’s cap during the National League Championship Series.
Rays manager Joe Maddon told home-plate umpire Tom Hallion at the end of the second inning that he believed Blanton had pine tar on his hat. Hallion replied to Maddon that he would check the ball, and if he found a foreign substance on the ball, he would proceed accordingly.
According to Mike Port, MLBs VP of umpiring, the request was essentially the end of the issue. Hallion kept an eye on the ball and on Blanton, and found nothing suspicious.
“It’s nothing,” Blanton said. “They rub the balls up with whatever they rub them up with, and you rub it up and get it on your hand. I’m constantly trying to get moisture, and just touch my hat. It’s nothing sticky. Anybody can go touch it. It’s basically just dirt from the ball that gets … over time, over so many starts, I don’t change my hat. It just gets rubbed on the hat.”
Joe Blanton became the first pitcher in 34 years to homer in the World Series, Howard drove in five runs with two homers and Philadelphia romped over the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 on Sunday night to move within one win of its first title since 1980.
A day after hitting his first homer of the Series, Howard connected twice. The major league leader in home runs and RBIs hit a three-run drive off Andy Sonnanstine that made it 5-1 in the fourth and sent the city into a frenzy. Howard added a long, two-run shot against Dan Wheeler in the eighth to put the game out of reach and the World Series title within the Phils grasp.
Cole Hamels will try to close out the Phillies’ second Series title on Monday night against Scott Kazmir in a rematch of Game 1 starters. Hamels (4-0) looks to make MLB postseason history tonight, trying to become the first pitcher to win five postseason starts in one year.
World Series Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Cole Hamels (PHI) vs Scott Kazmir (TB)
Game 2: Brett Myers (PHI) vs James Shields (TB)
Game 3: Matt Garza (TB) vs Jamie Moyer (PHI)
Game 4: Andy Sonnanstine (TB) vs Joe Blanton (PHI)
8:22 PM ET from Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine
Outcome: To be honest, Blanton scares me, but I cant decipher if its more or less then Jamie Moyer. I knew deep down Moyer would be throwing meatballs across the plate and that’s what scares me about Blanton. He sucked during the regular season after we acquired him (Eaton-esque) and his only really good game came in the NLCS. PLEASE FOR LOVE OF GOD continue to pitch well Joey. I think the Phils are revving to go on all cylinders after last night’s small tussle in the infield after the Kuroda/Victorino incident. God I would of loved Vic to JACK UP Hiroki.
Anyway look for the Phils to have Lowe’s number after facing him in Game 1 and to be hot in the batters box and flying around the base paths. I also see the Dodgers getting to Blanton a bit and the scoring to be high and often. Maybe Ryan Howard will actually do something with the bat tonight as well. Phils win, Phils win.
Final: PHI 7 LA 4
Player of the Game: Jimmy Rollins – 3 for 4, 3 Rs, 2 SBs, 1 RBI
Outcome: After the intensity level was kicked up a few notches last night, we turn right around and get back on the field tonight for Game 4. Joe Blanton gets the nod against Dodger ace Derek Lowe coming back on 3 days rest.
Lowe baffled the Phils hitters minus one inning in game 1, but that inning was all Phils needed as Lowe was pinned with the loss. Look for the Phils bats to be a little more successful this time around, as a shoot-out will break out tonight.
Look for the scoreboard to start firing up in the middle to late innings as the 2 pitchers will come out throwing strikes trying not to fire up things like last night, for fear of ejections and suspensions, and then try to challenge the hitters the second time around, unsuccessfully. The Phils pen will out-duel the Dodgers and send the Phillies to a 3-1 series lead on a 10-7 Phillies victory.
Final: PHI 10 LA 7
Player of the Game: Jayson Werth – 4 for 6, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs
Pat “The Bat” Burrell. This is my call to re-sign him RIGHT NOW. Patrick Brian Burrell, in a contract, performed bigger then any Phillie in the biggest game of the season to date.
After struggling to swing the bats through the first three games of the NL division series, Philadelphia’s offense broke out in a big way against the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLDS series. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a home run and Pat Burrell connected twice to break out of his postseason slump and Jayson Werth added a solo shot to seal the deal and move the Phils one step closer to a World Series run.
Let’s not forget about Joe Blanton who had possibly his best outing in a Phillies uniform since coming over in the deal with the Oakland A’s earlier this season. He threw six innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven to get the victory.
After the game Charlie Manuel spoke about how proud he was of this team and also added how he feels about the Phils chances against the upcoming Los Angeles Dodgers:
I think we can hold our own with them. Actually, I think we can beat anybody in the National League, really.
Some Fast Facts (courtesy of ESPN.com):
- The Phillies, who won a postseason series for the first time since the 1993 NLCS, set a postseason team record with four home runs.
- Jimmy Rollins started the game with the Phillies’ second postseason leadoff homer in team history. Rollins belted the other in Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS.
- Prince Fielder’s homer was the first by a Brewer in the postseason since Ben Oglivie’s in Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. It was the Brewers’ only extra-base hit of the game.
- The Phillies recorded 17 extra-base hits in the four-game series. The Brewers, who hit .206 in the set, had four.
Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and three steals and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 8-6 on Monday night.
The Phillies closed within 1½ games of the NL East-leading New York Mets. They remain two behind in the loss column.
“Every game is a must-win,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We have to win more games than they do.”
Joe Blanton (2-0) pitched five shaky innings to earn his first win since Aug. 2. Blanton allowed four runs and five hits in his 10th start since Philadelphia acquired him from Oakland. Blanton really scares me as we near the home stretch of the season. Every time I checked back to the Phils game (watching MNF, some fantasy ramifications on the line) he had given up more hits and more runs. He needs to get his ass in gear if he expects to pitch in the playoffs. After averaging 1 walk per 9 IP in the AL for his career, he is now averaging 4 walks per 9 IP in the NL, an easier pitchers league, explain that.
Mets News: Billy Wagner is out for the rest of this season and will likely miss all of 2009 too.
The New York Mets closer will have surgery after an MRI on Monday showed a torn MCL in his pitching elbow has gotten worse during more than a month of rehab. His injury could send the Mets into the free-agent market for a top reliever this winter.
Brett Myers pitched seven shutout innings last night and looked like the Brett Myers of old. It was a very nice outing indeed, but I’m not jumping on the Myers bandwagon just yet. When you think about it, facing the Washington Nationals will tend to give those type of positive results.
He needs to pitch at least two more consistent solid outings before he gets my stamp of approval. But God I hope he does. We need another sure fire arm in the rotation, especially with the Joe Blanton move not quite panning out as we had hoped just yet.
Myers won for the first time since May, Chase Utley backed him with a two-run homer, and the Phillies beat the worst-in-the-majors Nationals 2-1 Tuesday night. Myers only allowed four hits, and gave up one walk while striking out two.
According to the Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury the Phils seem to have interest in Oakland A’s starting pitcher Joe Blanton. This year Blanton is sporting a 5-12 record with a 4.96 ERA this season. Sounds like another crappy pitcher that’s already in our rotation.
This move does not seem to help us in any way shape or form. Your smarter then that Mr. Gillick. There are a lot better options out there than Blanton. He’s struggled in Oakland this year, one of the best pitchers parks in the league, please explain how’s that going to translate to Citizens Bank Park?
In other Phillie News: Brett Myers’ next minor-league start will be Friday night in Florida for single-A Clearwater at Brevard County. The plan is to have Myers join the Phillies the next day in nearby Miami and return to the starting rotation July 23 against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.