There’s quite a bit of talk about whether the Phillies will sign a certain starting pitcher, one that is having a very good beginning of his walk year.
Few Phillies fans are fretting over Joe Blanton’s status next year. But maybe they should be thinking about Big Joe as opposed to worrying about whether Cole Hamels inks a long-term deal.
Blanton was very impressive in the Phillies’ 5-1 win Monday night over the Houston Astros. The unsung member of the rotation blanked the Astros through seven frames before giving up a homer in the eighth. Blanton (4-3, 2.96 ERA) gave up one run on six hits in seven-plus innings. He issued a walk and struck out seven. Hamels is the only member of the staff who has more victories than Blanton.
“I just tried to stay focused and make good pitches,” Blanton said. “I had a good changeup tonight. It was one of the first times this year it came through for me. It just got better and better. The offense came up big. Freddy [Galvis] had some big hits.”
The rookie second baseman is finding his stroke. Galvis went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs.
“Freddy is slowing down [at the plate],” Charlie Manuel said. “He had a good night. Tonight he popped some balls.”
Carlos Ruiz, who raised his average to .340 with two hits, knocked in a run. The eighth inning, which has been a sore spot for much of the season thanks to shaky relief, didn’t give Charlie Manuel indigestion thanks to a pair of strikeouts by Antonio Bastardo.
“He’s getting there,” Manuel said. “He’s going to get his velocity back. I see his arm getting quick, his arm is getting stronger he’s going to get it back.”
Placido Polanco joined the 2,000-hit club after pounding a two-run homer over the left-center field wall.
“I knew I hit it pretty good,” Polanco said. “I was just hoping it would drop somewhere. It felt good.”
In terms of accomplishments, Polanco listed the milestone at the top of an enviable career. However, he would place a Phillies World Series championship above the personal achievement.
“That’s the most important thing,” Polanco said. “There’s nothing bigger than winning it all. That’s what I want most.”