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Blanton’s Control Problems

Last night Joe Blanton pitched six innings but gave up five runs. So he ate innings, but his ERA resembled Brett Myers and Adam Eaton.

The reason for that: control. He said the three walks were too many:

“I was really disappointed with myself about the walks. Especially the pitcher. That’s definitely not what I wanted to do.”

Blanton has walked three or more in seven starts this season, but hasn’t walked more than four in any game. More alarming, he gave up two home runs for only the second time this season. The Delgado homer came after a controversial check swing call. The homer was, according to Charlie Manuel, a ball.

So the conventional wisdom is Blanton is a Moyer/Kendrick kind of guy, one who’ll get hit a little, but limit damage against bad and inexperienced offenses. But against the Mets and Cubs of the world — look out.

Still, I find this piece from Beyond the Box Score intriguing, especially after the two homers surrendered yesterday:

While approximately 11-12% of fly balls become homers on average, Blanton has given up only 69 homers on 892 career fly balls – good for 7.7%. Much of this likely stems from the fact that he has pitched for the Athletics during his entire career. You can find different sources for park factors, but according to this McAfee Coliseum depresses homers by 11%. When we adjust for the fact that Blanton made approximately half of his starts in the Coliseum, we can see how he was able to beat the league average in homers per fly ball by approximately 4-5%. Sure enough, we see that Blanton’s career HR/9 at home is lower (0.75) than his career HR/9 on the road 0.90).

BtBS hypothesizes Citizens Bank Park could increase Blanton’s homer-surrendering chances by 16 percent. Yikes. That, to me, screams more Adam Eaton than Jamie Moyer.

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