Joe Blanton looked better than any of the Phillies pitchers not named Halladay this spring. Any person who knows anything about baseball knows that spring training dominance is an accurate predictor of regular season success (remember this when Jake Fox wins the home run title).
Blanton ambled to the mound with the confidence accrued from a great spring. The offense even obliged Joe with a seven run cushion off of Mets “ace” Mike Pelfrey. Blanton cruised through the first three innings before hitting Carlos Beltran and allowing a home run to Angel Pagan. He wriggled out of trouble by inducing a Josh Thole into an inning ending double play. The score at this point was 7-2. The game seemed to be in hand. The Mets scored five runs in the fifth, all charged to Kentucky Joe. His final line was 4 1/3 innings, ten hits and seven earned runs. Surprisingly, Joe was not booed as he left the mound. I suppose, even after all his spring training heroics, the bar is set a touch lower for Blanton than it is for Cole Hamels.
Pelfrey faired even worse than Blanton going two innings while allowing eight hits and seven runs. He gave up an absolute blast to Ryan Howard and generally got knocked around by the Phils offense. Does everyone remember last year when Pelfrey led the league in ERA through the end of June? There were a ton of Mets fans yapping that Pelfrey turned the corner and was now an ace. He may be serviceable, but he surely isn’t an ace fellows.
With the score tied after the top of the fifth, the Phillies offense was charged with answering the five run Mets outburst. Luckily, the Mets turned to gas-can reliever Blaine Boyer. The Phils scored two runs off of Boyer in the bottom of the fifth on a check swing double from Shane Victorino, followed by an RBI Beltran can’t run enabled single from Polonco. Rollins worked a walk and Ryan Howard singled off of Boyer (literally) scoring Polonco on a great base-running play. Boyer stuck around long enough for Ben Francisco to crush a hanging slider into the left field bleachers in the sixth.
After Blanton’s inauspicious start, the Phillies bullpen shut the Mets down for the remainder of the game keeping the score at 10-7. Antonio Bastardo, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson combined to go 3 2/3 innings, allowing two hits while striking out three. Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth career save.
Every Phillies regular save Jimmy Rollins and Brian Schneider had at least one hit today. Ryan Howard went 4-4 with a walk, Placido Polonco went 3-5 with three RBI and Pete Orr went 2-3 with two runs scored. These along with the performance of the bullpen were the positive elements of today’s game. Negatives started and ended with the rocky outing from a starting pitcher for the second straight game. Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels can only go up from here.
The Phillies attempt to take the series tomorrow night with Roy Halladay on the mound. He is opposed by left hander Jon Niese at 3:05 P.M.