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Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 start … for now

Oct 18, 2010, 11:16 AM EDT

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With the NLCS tied 1-1 following Roy Oswalt’s gem last night the Phillies are still planning to start Joe Blanton in Game 4 of the series Wednesday.

However, there’s plenty of speculation that Charlie Manuel would instead turn to Roy Halladay on short rest for Game 4 if the Phillies are down 2-1 and the manager did nothing to rule that out yesterday, saying: “We’ll just take it day to day and see what happens.”

Asked if bringing back Halladay on short rest was an option being considered, pitching coach Rich Dubee replied: “We haven’t talked about it yet.” Obviously the Phillies have “talked about it” and the attempts to avoid the topic seemingly make it clear that Blanton’s chances of starting Game 4 with the team down in the series are pretty weak.

It’ll be a moot point if Cole Hamels beats Matt Cain tomorrow, so Manuel and Dubee are smart not to delve into the issue unless they need to, but in this case the non-answers are almost as informative as answers. Blanton hasn’t started a game since September 29, but he pitched very well down the stretch and by moving Halladay up to Game 4 the Phillies would have to move Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels up as well, which would result in the final four games of the series all being started by pitchers on short rest.

  1. Jonny 5 - Oct 18, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    I have a calm confidence in Joe Blanton. I think he wins against Bumgardner. I think Halladay should go to game 5 no matter what. But, then again, I’m not Charlie. Blanton looked good at the end of the season.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    If the Phillies lose game 3, Halladay has to pitch game 4. You can’t afford to go down 3-1 and put all that pressure on the big 3, even if they will be pitching on short rest. I’ll take 2 Halladay, 1 Hamels, and 1 Oswalt all on short rest over Blanton, Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels all on normal rest. Lose with your best…make the Giants beat H2O 4 times.

    • BC - Oct 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM

      I agree 100%. This is the same situation the Yankees are facing with Burnett.

    • haggertyb - Oct 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM

      Pitchers going on short rest have an ERA over a run higher than their normal rest ERA. I’d rather have Blanton pitch game 4 than give up an extra 4 runs over 4 games by having Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt go on short rest. The other scenario of pitching Halladay on short rest, then going with Blanton in game 5 is just plain stupid. If they’re both going to pitch in a game, why would you have one go on short rest if you can avoid it?

  3. route36west - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Well it doesnt neccessarily mean the Phillies would have to move up Oswalt and Hamels if they move up Halladay. If they pitch Halladay on short rest to get the series back to 2-2 theres a possibilty that Manuel would pitch Blanton in game 5. Which would keep Oswalt and Hamels on there regular schedule. The Phillies obviously have faith in Blanton or they wouldnt have announced him as the game 4 starter earlier this week, but they probably would feel more comfortable with Halladay pitching with the team trailing. And if that happened and he won I think the Phillies have enough confidence in Blanton to pitch him in a tied series.

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