In spite of himself, Joe Blanton records his second victory in a Phillie uniform as the Phillies hold on to beat the slowly fading Marlins, 8-6. The Phillies would score first in the first inning, as, with a runner on third and one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI single, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, stole second and has gone to third on Marlins’ catcher John Baker’s throwing error, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. It would become 2-0 Phils as Ryan Howard would hit a RBI double, scoring Utley. The Marlins would come back in the second inning, as, with the bases loaded via two straight walks (Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla) and a single (Josh Willingham) and nobody out, Baker would hit a sacrifice fly for the inning’s first out, scoring Jacobs and moving Uggla to third, cutting the Phillies lead to 2-1. The Marlins would then tie the game on Alfredo Amezaga ground out to first, which would score Uggla with the tying run and move Willingham to second. Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton would finally get out of the inning by getting Marlins’ starter Anibal Sanchez to line out to right. The Phillies would regain the lead in their half of the second as, with runners on second and third and no one out, Blanton would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Matt Stairs, who has earlier walked and has gone to third on Carlos Ruiz’s double, to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead, while sending Ruiz over to third. Ruiz would then score on a RBI single by Rollins, giving the Phillies a 4-2 load. Three batters later, with runners on first and second and two outs, and after Sanchez was replaced by Marlins’ reliever Mark Hendrickson, Howard would hit a RBI single off of Hendrickson’s leg, scoring Rollins, who has stolen second, for his second (of three) stolen bases for the evening, to make it 5-2 Phillies, while Utley, who has walked, would go over to third. Hendrickson would then end the inning by getting Jayson Werth to fly out. The Marlins would make it 5-4 Phillies in the third, as, with a runner on first and two outs, Jacobs would hit a two-run home run, his thirty-first home run of the year, scoring Hanley Ramirez, who has earlier walked, the third man whom Blanton would walk that evening, all of whom would later score. The Marlins would not be able to cause any more damage for the next several innings as Blanton would finally settle down, although being removed after performing five innings of so-so work, and then would be shut down for two superb innings of work by Chad Durbin. In the meantime, Hendrickson would keep the Phillies’ bats quiet for three innings, giving up only one more hit. The Phillies would then strike in the bottom of the seventh, as, with two men on and two outs, Werth would hit a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, scoring Shane Victorino, who has walked, went to second when Utley was hit by the pitch, and move to third on Howard’s force out, and Howard, who has reached first on a force out, to give the Phillies an 8-4 lead. The Marlins then tried to come back in the eighth. After J.C. Romero would get the lead-off hitter, he would walk Jorge Cantu. Pinch hitter Cody Ross would then follow with a two-run pinch hit home run, his twentieth home run of the year, scoring Cantu, making it 8-6 Phillies. Charlie Manuel would then come out and take out Romero, and replace him with Ryan Madson. Madson would then proceed to strike out Uggla for the second out of the inning. After Madson gives up a double to Willingham, Manuel would come back to the mound and replace Madson with Scott Eyre. Eyre would then end the inning by getting Baker to fly out. In the top of the ninth, Brad Lidge is handed the ball. After getting out the lead-off man, Lidge would give up a double to pinch hitter Dallas McPherson and then a single to Ramirez, putting runners on the corner. But that would be it as Lidge would then strike out both Wes Helm and Cantu to end the ballgame, as he records his thirty-fifth save in as many tries.
Joe Blanton, would get the win, his second as a Phil since the trade, as he only goes five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks, all of whom would score. His record is now 7-12 (2-0) with an ERA of 4.86. Chad Durbin would pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on one hit and a walk. Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre would both pitch a third of an inning, giving up only one hit (Madson) while striking out one (also Madson). Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up two hits while striking out two as he records his thirty-fifth save of the year. Anibel Sanchez would get the lost as he would only last one and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits, and two walks. His record is now 2-4 with a 6.46 ERA. Mark Hendrickson would pitch three and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up only two hits. Logan Kensing would also pitch a scoreless innging, giving up no hits. Andrew Miller would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on no hits, a walk and a hit batter. Joe Nelson would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on one hit.
In spite of his so-so pitching, Joe Blanton has finally won his second start as a Phil. Frankly, people I am not impressed. Why? Because the press release on this guy says that he can go deep into games and thus help to save the bullpen. For me, late means at least the seventh inning. And how many times has this guy reached at least the seventh? Two times. That’s right, people, just two times. He has not reached the eight or ninth inning since putting on the red pinstripes, and in his nine starts against National League clubs (once his rain shorten appearence has been removed) this is as far as he has gotten: 4 innings: 1; 5 innings: 3; 5 plus innings: 1; 6 innings: 2; 7 innings: 2. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a guy who can go deep into games? Folks, I think the front office, once again, has been outsmarted!!! (Gee, what a surprise, that’s a tradition with the Phillies front office.) Hey Blanton, want to prove me wrong? STOP GETTING INTO LONG PITCH COUNTS IN THE FIRST FEW INNINGS, YOU TWIT!!!!! You’ll get deeper into games.
The Phillies (79-65) will continue their three games home stand with the Marlins (72-72) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (11-8, 5.06), who is coming off a very bad start against the Nationals on September 1, where he only went four innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 7-4 lost. The Phils have skipped his previous start in the rotation, which would’ve been last Sunday against the Mets and have put him instead against the fish. During the Mets series he would work out in the bullpen, trying to regain his composure as well as get over his sudden fear of pitching against opposing batters. Rich Dubee has claimed that the change of pace has done Kendrick some good. I for one hope so, although we all know who is waiting in the wings if he continues to mess up. *Cough HAPP Cough* Kendrick will be trying for his twelfth win while hoping to help the Phillies keep pace with the Mets. The Marlins will counter with Chris Volstad (4-3, 3.32), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 3, where he went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 5-3 win. His previous start against the Phillies on August 7 was a victory as he pitched sixth innings, giving up no earned runs on three scattered hits, in the Marlins’ 3-0 win. He will be looking to improve his record while seeing if he can continue to bug the Phillies’ offense.
The Phillies now trail the Mets by a game and a half, as they begin a two games series with the Nationals in New York. They now lead the Marlins by seven games as they continue their series. In the wild card chase, they trail the Brewers by three games as the Brew Crew lost to the Reds, while they are a game and a half ahead of the Cardinals as they prepare to meet the Cubs for three games and are two games ahead of the Astros, who has defeated the Pirates. The Phillies will be trying to gain some ground on both the Mets in the East and the Brewers in the wild card chase.