Joe the Pitcher

Large_blanton_reutersPhillies looking for some Joe-mentum tonight (Source: Reuters) 

I sense a lot of second-guessing around town whether or not to pitch Roy Halladay tonight on 3 days rest. And it really makes little sense to me. First of all, the problem so far has been hitting, not pitching. They will probably need to score at least 3 or 4 runs today no matter who is pitching, which seems like Herculean task lately with this team.

Second of all, unless Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels can go on 3 days rest in Games 5 and 6, and Halladay again in Game 7, then Joe Blanton would have to pitch Game 5 vs Lincecum, which is probably conceding that game. And when you are down 2-1, you can't concede any game.

Thirdly, Halladay had a subpar outing (for him anyway) in Game 1. I'd bet against 2 subpar outings in a row for Doc. But with their flaccid offense, Halladay could pitch well and still lose 2-1 kind of game against Madison Bumgarner. And then you'd have Blanton vs Lincecum in Game 5 or everyone on 3 days rest the remainder of the series facing elimination.  By the way, Bumgarner isn't chopped liver either (3.00 regular season ERA and pitched well against the Braves in Game 4 of NLDS). I see him as sort of their JA Happ. I'm a big believer in not changing up your planned series rotation until you are facing elimination. And if they don't start scoring at least 3 or 4 runs per game, it won't matter who is pitching for them anyway.

How ugly has the Phillies offense been so far this postseason? This ugly:

– They've scored a total of 22 runs in 6 games and 11 of them were a direct or indirect result of defensive miscues.

– In those 6 games, they are batting 7 for 44 (.159) with RISP.

– In the NLCS vs the Giants they are batting 2 for 19 (.105) with RISP.

– They have hit only 3 HRs so far. Combine that with their anemic batting average with RISP and it's no secret why they haven't scored much.

– Raul Ibanez is 3 for 23 (.130) in the postseason, including 0 for 11 in this series.

– Ryan Howard has the same number of RBIs as I have so far in this postseason.

– Howard's 0 RBIs are partially explained by Victorino, Utley, and Polanco being a combined 5 for 32 (.156) in the series.  And the top 3 spots in the batting order combined to go 7 for 36 (.194) vs the Reds in the NLDS. He has only really had a few RBI opportunities.

Hopefully, you still haven't jumped off a nearby bridge after reading that. As for Game 4 tonight, I believe Blanton will come through and give them a chance to win the game if the offense does what it needs to do. What else do you have to hang your hat on as a Phils fan? But if they aren't hitting it won't make much a difference. Blanton came up pretty big in a similar spot last year vs the Yankees in the WS. He didn't pitch great, but he battled and kept them in the game and left trailing 4-3 after 6 innings, I believe. And that was against CC Sabathia, in a hitters' ballpark against a much better lineup than he will face today. Bumgarner is definitely no CC, although the way the Phils are swinging the bats lately, he might as well be.


4 Responses

  1. Joe the Lumber is the man. Put him in a corner and he’ll give you his best performance every time. Watch what happens tonight. I think we’ll all be pleased with the outcome.

  2. Great writing and much common sense. I agree with Tyson’s comment 100%. I’m anticipating good things to happen.

  3. “Flaccid Offense”
    I vote that if they can’t turn things around tonight, that we officially change the name to the Philadelphia Flaccids.
    The only reason that the guys are insisting on Doc for tonight is so that they can generate readership and page hits. Fuck ’em.

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