2012 Game Recaps

Blanton Dazzles, Chooch Drives In Three As Phils Defeat Cubs

Jimmy Rollins' two-run double in the fourth inning helped the Phillies on their way to a 5-2 victory. It was Rollins' first hit in 13 at-bats. Photo: AP

Shortly after learning that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are moving closer to game action, the Phillies took to the field and dispatched of the Chicago Cubs in a clean 5-2 victory.

After an aggravating game last night in which they failed to take advantage of another good start by their pitcher, the Phillies bats showed up in this one, backing up Joe Blanton’s excellent performance on the mound.

New Look Lineup Proves Effective:

– Charlie Manuel shuffled his lineup before the game, moving Jimmy Rollins into the leadoff spot, Hunter Pence to the three-hole (both players’ rightful spots in the order), and starting Jim Thome at first, Pete Orr at second, and Laynce Nix in left. It was the seventeenth different lineup Manuel has drawn up this season, but this one seemed to sacrifice defense in the name of getting some hits. The move worked as the Phillies plated five runs.

– In the fourth, the Phillies took a 2-1 lead with a Carlos Ruiz one-out, two-run single. It was a clutch hit from a guy who we’ve come to expect big hits from. Chooch would also hit a solo home run in the sixth, giving him a three RBI game for the first time this season. He has been one of the few reliable bats in the Phillies lineup early on. He’s currently hitting .311 and leads the team with seven extra base hits.

–  In an attempt to get J-Roll going–Rollins came into the game hitting just .091 over his last ten games–Manuel hit him leadoff. After going hitless in his first two at-bats, Rollins helped the offense when he sent a two-out bloop double down the right field line with the bases loaded to score two runs, make it 4-1 and chase Randy Wells from the game. It had to feel good for J-Roll, as he was hitless in his previous thirteen at-bats before the double. Hopefully the hit will be the spark Rollins needs to get rolling at the plate again. He would strikeout in the sixth inning to finish the night 1-for-4.

Blanton Loves Homecooking:

– After a shaky first inning, Blanton settled in, allowing seven hits and just one run the rest of the way. He finished with a final line of 7.1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 8 K. Big Joe showed good velocity on his fastball, touching 90 consistently and throwing a ton of strikes (78 strikes to 28 balls) and first pitch strikes. These were all good signs, as Blanton resembled the man we saw in his first start of the season opposed to the man who had struggled his last few times out.

– Blanton has clearly enjoyed pitching at CBP this season. He currently has a 1.88 home ERA, while sporting a 6.17 ERA on the road.

– Blanton’s allowed a combined 30 runs in the first inning of his last 4o starts dating back to 2010.

Games Notes:

– The four-run fourth inning marked the ninth time the Phillies have scored three or more runs in an inning this season.

– Jim Thome was replaced at first base by Ty Wigginton in the fifth inning following a play in which he slid into second. Thome left the game with lower back tightness, and is currently listed as day-to-day. This is something to keep an eye on as Thome has been plagued by back maladies throughout his career.

– With his seventh inning single, Wigginton extended his hitting streak to thirteen games.

– Papelbon recorded his seventh save of the season. He is one of just three pitchers with at least seven opportunities yet to blow a save this season. I know people felt the Phillies overpaid for Pap–and the contract could prove to be an albatross down the line–but he has been as good as advertised so far this season.

– The Phillies look to guarantee themselves at least a split tomorrow when they send Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA) to the mound for his second start in place of the injured Cliff Lee. On the mound for the Cubs will be Matt Garza (1-1, 3.38 ERA).

Click to comment


  1. Chris

    April 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Almost everyone hated the Wigginton and Nix moves and people have hated on Pierre. They have all been a huge reason why our offense is scoring at all in the early going. If they do nothing else all year after the return of the big boys (I hope they continue doing well) then they’ve already kind of filled their purpose of helping keep the offense afloat while Utley and Howard are out.

  2. Brooks

    April 29, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Anyone know the lineup for today?
    I’m thinking:
    Pierre LF
    Poly 3B
    Jimmy SS – Cholly doesn’t give up easy
    Pence RF
    Vic CF
    Nix (or Wiggs?) 1B
    Galvis 2B
    Schnides C
    KK is on the mound, he usually follows a bomb with a decent outing (not unlike JB did last night)
    My preference would be to see Junior at first, I think he is way past due.

  3. TheDipsy

    April 29, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Continuing from another thread – Chase Utley would have been a helluva lot better leadoff hitter. Jayson Werth, too. The problem is that the Phillies never thought it was important to get a “true” leadoff hitter so they went with what they had….Jimmy. Who is not a leadoff hitter. Its not Jimmy’s fault he’s not a leadoff hitter – its just management’s for not getting one.

    The Dipsy

  4. Don M

    April 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

    It’s pretty obvious that Blanton is the best pitcher on the staff and that he’ll finish top 3 in the Cy Young.. Go Fightins!

    • Slobostar15

      April 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Hold on now. I will agree that Blanton is having a great year so far but he is definitely not the best pitcher on the staff. Halladay has that and won’t lose that title till a few years later. He has done things that no pitcher has done for the Phils in a while. So I’m gonna have to disagree with you there, but I am happy to see and hope Blanton continues to go good.

      • schmenkman

        April 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

        I read Don’s note as sarcasm making the point about making too much of a small sample.

      • Don M

        April 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        yea that was sarcasm …. just a shot at the daily rants, and the “WE SUCK” … “WE’RE DONE” .. etc … It’s freakin April …. and we’re without our 3-4 hitters.

        That said, we should be better than our current record .. but my biggest gripe thus far might actually be the lack of logic in lineups from Charlie . .

        There is NO justification in my book for ever batting Wigginton 4th, ahead of Victorino 5th , etc . . . WHen you are without your IDEAL lineup, you should structure it in a way that your best hitters get to the plate most often . . . it’s pretty clear with Charlie’s lineups that he reserves the #4 spot in the order for “CLEANUP HITTER” .. isntead of of having his top hitters, followed by some pop – in the rare case that one of them actually goes yard – maybe have some guys on base…

        i STILL think the Phillies are going to win the NL East .. call me crazy

  5. Psujoe

    April 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Is the site losing members? Is it the poor play or slowness?

    • George

      April 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      I don’t think the site is actually losing members; it’s just that some members are choosing not to post as frequently. Part of it is likely the play of the team, but I also think some of it has to do with the negative comments that are being posted. It gets pretty depressing to read constantly that the Phils suck, that Amaro sucks, that Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are toast, Rollins can’t lead off, Howard won’t be 100% when he returns, and that Charlie Manuel constantly makes bad decisions.

      It’s also annoying when optimistic commenters are told so much that “Hope is not a strategy.”

      • Tracey

        April 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        The traffic was down last year too, and they were playing great last year. Last year it seemed to be a combination of the trolls and migration to Facebook, though FB also seems to be pretty dead this year (the Timeline crap isn’t helping)

  6. A.T.

    April 29, 2012 at 9:51 am

    We need consistency, some kind of consistency to let them compete.
    Check out :http://thebigphillydogblog.blogspot.com/

  7. Dave P

    April 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    So, two games I’ve gone to this year. Both Joe Blanton starts, and both of them the starts where he looked great. Anyone want to buy me tickets to the next few Joe Blanton home starts to see if this is a trend?

  8. chuck s

    April 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Popup looper into the rf tiangle by Rollins to lead off game. After six innings, as Bugs says “that’s all folks”. Matt “HOF” Garza on the mound. 9 KOs thru, six. PUTRID, Not a ball hit hard and once again Pence played an out into a double.

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