Phillies Stumble And Rumble In Victory

Much of the offseason discusscion pertaining to the Phillies revolved around the star-studded pitching rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.  If those four are the wheels which make the Phillies move from point A to point B, then Joe Blanton is the spare tire.  The media and the public will have a tendency to overlook Blanton in such an excellent rotation; luckily for Blanton, his 2011 debut is a performance which can be overlooked as the offense roared to a 10-7 victory.

Blanton pitched well in the first few innings.  His first win of the 2011 season seemed to be inevitable as the Phillies gave him a comfortable 7-0 lead.  Blanton surrendered two earned runs in the fourth inning, followed by another five earned runs in the fifth inning.  After 4 1/3 innings of work, Blanton had allowed 10 hits, two walks and seven earned runs while striking out six batters.  There would be no victory for Blanton.

Ryan Howard - trotting around the bases after a home run - is currently hitting .524 through five games.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Placido Polanco (3/5, 3 RBI) singled to right field, scoring Shane Victorino for the 8-7 lead.  An RBI single by Ryan Howard (4/4, HR, 2 RBI) in the fifth inning and a solo home run by Ben Francisco in the sixth inning would be enough for the victory.

Howard had a career-high four hits, falling just short of hitting for the cycle (ah, that elusive triple).  Although he is normally a slow starter, Howard is currently batting .524 with two home runs and eight RBIs through five games.

The bullpen had a strong night as Antonio Bastardo, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras combined to pitch 4 2/3 innings, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out four batters.  Contreras finished the game with his first save of the season.

Notes

  • Howard (4/4, HR, 2 RBI) fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle.  Howard is currently hitting .524
  • Shane Victorino (2/5, RBI) posted his first multi-hit game of the season
  • Polanco (.450 AVG) has three multi-hit games this season

On Thursday, Roy Halladay (0-0, 1.50 ERA) will pitch the final game of this three-game series.  In 2010, Halladay was 4-0 in four starts with a 2.56 ERA against the Mets.

Christopher Wenrich is a senior fantasy baseball contributor for BaseballDigest.com and can be reached at philliesmuse@yahoo.com.  You can follow him on Twitter @DuggerSports.

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