Joe Blanton hadn’t thrown a game pitch in 16 days. He hadn’t thrown more than 40 pitches in a bullpen session while on the disabled list. He didn’t even throw a pitch in a rehab start. But here was Joe Blanton. Fresh off the DL and pitching against the Florida Marlins.
Charlie Manuel didn’t expect much so I think it’s safe to say he was happy with he got. Blanton last five innings, allowed eight hits and three runs. It was his first victory of the season and his first start since April 23rd. Blanton wasn’t the sharpest, but did throw 40 out of 66 pitches for strikes. His velocity on all his pitches was down about a mile an hour compared to his previous starts.
After the game Blanton never really came out and said he was feeling 100% or that the impingement in his right elbow was completely gone. The Phillies pitching coach, Rich Dubee, was a little more vocal on Blanton’s health.
“It’s still a little cranky,” Dubee said. “At the same time there was some rust, too.” Dubee did go on to say that Blanton is not 100% but it is pitchable. Blanton’s next scheduled start is against Atlanta and that will be the real test.
During the game Blanton got into some jams but the double play actually worked in the favor of the Phillies tonight. Jimmy Rollins and Pete Orr did their part helping to turn three double plays each. The Phillies lead the league in fielding and playing solid defense has been a trademark of the team the past four or five years Manuel said.
The Phillies, again, knocked around 12 hits for the second game in a row. Maybe the biggest momentum starter a player can provide, Jimmy Rollins lead the game off with his second home run of the season. Rollins had two hits and is seeing his average continue to climb and now sits at .289. The top four on the Phillies line up with Rollins, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard are now hitting .289, .292, .363 and .275, respectively.
The Phillies are now 23-11, tops in the Majors. They have now won 18 times in the last 21 games played in Miami. The Phillies are seven games over .500 against the division mates and the only other team with a winning percentage within the division is the Braves (8-7).
Spoiler Alert: Set your DVRs for tomorrow night’s game. Roy Halladay will be on the hill facing off against Josh Johnson. We all know what happened last season when these two faced off. Clear your schedule and put the kids to bed. This could be one of the best pitching match ups all season.