Friday, July 18, 2008

We Asked; They Answered

We asked and the Phils obliged by picking up pitcher Joe Blanton from the A's for three prospects only one of which -- Adrian Cardenas -- looks like a decent bet to make it in the big leagues.

Blanton is known as an "innings eater", at least the third the Phils have acquired in mid-season over the last few years, the others being Cory Lidle and Kyle Lohse. (Judging from his girth he's no stranger at another trough either.) There's no inherent problem with innings eaters unless they have a few too many innings on their arms already. Blanton may fall into that category. He's also reported to be in need of a change of scenery, another favorite characteristic frequently associated with mid-season trades.

Blanton will step right into the rotation, taking Adam Eaton's place. With the imminent return of Brett Myers to the rotation and with Flash Gordon on the DL, the question of what to do with Eaton remains. Eaton hardly resembles the sort of pitcher who can be a setup guy given his miserable stats for his first inning of work each time out. On the other hand, if he simply pretends he'd been in the game for six or seven innings already when he gets the call then maybe Eaton can work late in the ballgame...but I doubt it. Myers may be the joker in the starting deck. If he returns and cannot recapture his former "glory" he may get his wish to pitch in relief, but not as the closer. Setup men may not be the rock stars Myers dreams about, but they can play base guitar.

Meanwhile, back at the standings, the Mets won for the tenth straight time last night (a streak that started at Citizens Bank Park with three straight victories) and tied the Phils for first place. In the NY papers they will of course be listed at the top; in Philadelphia they are still listed second. It's really remarkable the Phils are still tied for the division lead at all as poorly as they've played over the last several weeks, but despite their mediocrity it took a ten-game winning streak by the New Yorkers to tie them. That alone should give rise to some optimism, but that can quickly turn to gloom if the Phils don't get their bats going. Now that Ryan Howard is on a tear, it would be nice to see Jimmy string together a few weeks of consistency and for Chase to get his groove back, too.

So, Joe, go eat...on the mound that is.

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