As for last night, well, I completely missed the game. I did however catch a few dozen highlights and my take is pretty simple: Joe Blanton looked very Joe Blanton-ish. The knee jerk reaction is something along the lines of "We pay $9M/ year for this! Why can't we trade him and get the same results out of Kyle Kendrick or Vance Worley!?!"
I don't necessarily disagree with either of those statements. But before pulling any triggers, consider this...
2009 - 8.41 - 4.05The first number represents Blanton's ERA at the end of April, and the second represents where he stands at the end of the year. Those are just his numbers in a Phillies jersey, but his career is littered with 5+ ER performances in April. His "innings eater" nickname clearly doesn't come from his spring performance, but rather what he does during the stretch runs in the summer. Maybe it's a physical issue, maybe it's mental, but for whatever reason, Joe Blanton does not start strong. Fortunately he's surrounded by such a package of pitchers that the memory of his clunker last night will be erased by about 7:15 tonight when Roy Halladay takes the mound.
2010 - 5.68 - 4.82
2011 - 10.45 - ?
The bigger question out of last night's game is Charlie Manuel's use of John Mayberry over Ross Gload in the top of the 7th with the bases loaded and down by four. Mayberry is off to a hot start off the bench, but a free swinging right handed youngster against a soft tossing veteran righty was simply a bad matchup. Especially knowing that the Nationals new closer, Sean Burnett, is a lefty. The fact is, the Phillies didn't need to score all four runs at that moment. In the 7th, they needed to bring Ross Gload to the plate to challenge Nats manager Jim Riggleman to keep Livian Hernandez in the game. A base hit would have cut the lead in half. John Mayberry would have been the better pick in the 9th inning against a lefty. Chalk this one up as the first blown Charlie Manuel decision of the season. There will be plenty more.