For all the critics out there that are openly expressing their disapproval of Joe Blanton and his current standing on the team, have you not followed Blanton throughout his career?
Blanton has, and will most likely, never get off to a fast start in any of his future seasons. His two highest ERA month’s during his seven-year career are none other than the first two months of the season: April (4.98) and May (5.61).
His worst winning percentage per month also occurs in the first two months – 7-12 in April and 9-16 in May.
Once June rolls around and the games actually mean more than they do early on, Blanton becomes a much different pitcher in terms of effectiveness and more importantly, winning percentage.
From June to September, Blanton’s career records by month are impressive – no losing record in any of the summer months.
From June to July, Blanton has compiled a respectable 24-20 record and 4.18 ERA. His counterpart, Cole Hamels, has a 18-17 career record and 3.74 ERA between those two months.
Although, Hamels is a much better pitcher than Blanton, he isn’t any better when it comes to the summer months of the season.
Blanton owns a tolerable resume between June and July, but he boasts a superb 31-12 record in the final two months of the season. His .470 winning percentage during the months of August and September rank him ahead of none other than Cliff Lee (.452) and Hamels (.440).
The stats are there to back up Blanton down the stretch, yet fans are quick to judge him when he struggles in just TWO games this season. Yes, it’s never good allowing the Nationals and Mets to tee off on you, but that doesn’t mean you have to exile Blanton. Every pitcher has a game or two where they just don’t have it (i.e. Cliff Lee vs. the Braves, Cole Hamels vs. the Mets).
And for those who believe Antonio Bastardo deserves a shot in the fifth spot, do you not remember his 6.46 ERA in five starts back in 2009, or his 4.34 ERA last season in 18.2 innings pitched?
Bastardo has shown a lot of guts this season coming out the pen and has certainly shown improvement with his nine strikeouts over 5.2 scoreless innings this season. If something is working, there is no need to change it, especially if it involves a pitcher who has struggled mightily in prior seasons.
It’s hard to go from Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Lee and Hamels to Blanton, but if the Phillies win at least three of the four games that the ‘Phour Aces’ start, then the Phillies will be in no trouble this season.
I mean, the Phillies are 10-6 at the top of the NL East and hold claim to second best record in the National League behind the Rockies. There’s no reason fans should be throwing Blanton overboard just yet.
Just wait, the Blanton Express will start rolling around once the weather warms up.