If you’ve been watching Joe Blanton recently, you’re bound to realize how much he is regressing to the mean. Blanton started the season on fire, going 4-3 with a 2.96 ERA and an unbelievable 5.00 strikeout to walk rate in his first eight starts.
Since then, he is 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched. What is unbelievable is that Blanton’s strikeout to walk ratio is still 4.75, meaning he is striking guys out and not walking batters, but he is giving up hits at a ridiculous rate. Blanton has been hit hard for a .389 opponents’ batting average and .800 slugging percentage during the stretch, and he’s giving up 16.93 hits per nine innings and 4.58 home runs per nine innings. He’s the first Philadelphia Phillies pitcher to give up at least five earned runs in four straight starts since Gavin Floyd in 2006.
Those are numbers that should get him sent right down to Triple-A. Obviously that won’t – and shouldn’t happen – since Blanton is making $8.5 million to pitch for the big league club, and he has been at least an average starting pitcher during his career. Blanton is a free agent after the season and he’s not going to get a big contract by leading the league in losses (6) or hits allowed (82).
The Phillies’ best bet is to just let Blanton continue to pitch and hope he gets it turned around. Roy Halladay is on the DL, so Kyle Kendrick is already in the rotation, meaning the Phillies can’t put Blanton on the DL to “rest.” Basically, they better just hope he turns it around and then let him walk at the end of the season.