No Surprise: Rotation Remains In Order

The Phillies postponed last night’s game because of rain. It turned out to be a good decision, considering I couldn’t see outside my windows because of the storm. But within seconds of the announcement I got a ton of questions from folks wondering if the Phillies planned to skip Joe Blanton in the rotation.

My first reaction: Why would they do that?

First, the obvious. Roy Oswalt had to leave Friday’s game because of a strained lower back. How much sense would it make to skip Blanton not knowing if Oswalt will pitch Wednesday? It very clearly makes more sense to keep everybody in order, which gives the Phillies an extra day to make a decision on Oswalt (and Oswalt an extra day to rest his back).

Second, Blanton has struggled in just two starts. Two. They need him to make 30-plus starts this season, so it makes absolutely no sense to skip him in April. Plus, what message does that send Blanton? Uh, Joe, we know it’s April and we know it’s just two starts, but we’re skipping you to keep Roy Halladay on his normal day. I know fans with tickets to Monday wanted to see Halladay pitch, but the Phillies are looking at the big picture. Keeping everybody in order in April might keep everybody a little fresher come October.

So the Phillies’ rotation looks like this:

  • Today vs. Marlins: Cole Hamels
  • Monday vs. Brewers: Joe Blanton
  • Tuesday vs. Brewers: Roy Halladay
  • Wednesday vs. Brewers: Cliff Lee
  • Thursday at San Diego: Roy Oswalt

Like postponing last night’s game, they made the right (and only) call.

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14 Comments

I get to see Lee, on Wed! And I wish everybody would give Joe some slack. He’ll be fine.

Why would they ask that fair is fair. It was Coles turn to pitch Saturday if anything they would have skipped him and had Blanton pitch today right?

They should skip Blanton because he isn’t pitching well and every game matters. He’d be available Wed. if Oswalt isn’t and they could go from there. Fifth starters, especially those as far behind the Phillies top four (which Blanton is, at least right now), should be skipped whenever there are days off in the schedule.

C’mon man, it’s April. You can’t skip “fifth starters” because you’ll need them in August and September. Yes, these games matter, but you can’t skip guys in the rotation. Think.

Why did you put “fifth starters” in quotation marks? Why would skipping Blanton tomorrow mean he wouldn’t be available in August and September?

Get used to games like Friday and today, guys. The early scoring spree was an aberration and this team is going to have to learn how to play some small ball. Can’t get Utley back soon enough.

It seems to me that most of the Phillies’ runs scored this year have come courtesy of the small ball – only 11 home runs in 14 games, 20th out of the 30 teams, but 76 runs scored, good for 7th overall. Just look at the batting average, the Phillies are tops in the majors – that’s what small ball is about, isn’t it? Putting the ball into play, not swinging for the fences.

Justin, the Phillies batting average is a residue of the first week when they hit everything in sight. In their first 8 games they scored 56 runs, with at least 5 runs in 6 of them.
Since, they’ve score 20 runs in 7 games, and no more than 4 runs in any of them. I believe this is the team that we are going to have to get used to. They are not adept at playing small ball, and that is Charlie’s fault. The fact that he let Ibanez hit away in the eighth inning yesterday is testament to that. They got lucky that it wasn’t a double play and were able to score on a sac fly, but that situation screamed for a bunt. Dumb luck.

No offense, Phan52, but do you really think Ibanez can bunt with any degree of skill? I think his attempts would be far more likely to lead to Howard getting thrown out at 3rd, or striking himself out/popping up to prevent any advance at all.

zach: Because you can’t skip fifth starters regardless, in April. Would you have skipped Hamels if he had been as bad as Blanton? No. So, why does it matter where a guy pitches in the rotation? Like leadoff hitters, they generally only lead off their first time up – unless they other guy is throwing a perfect game. It’s just another job title.

It’s certainly not another job title. The coaching staff clearly views him as their 5th best starter.

OK, so let’s hear from everyone who wanted to skip Blanton in the rotation. What?

Louder. I can’t hear you.

LOL. The Internet, home of specious reasoning since 1975.

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