Just days after trading away outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the Philadelphia Phillies have shipped starting pitcher Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for either a player to be named later or cash.
Blanton was expected to be traded before the July 31 deadline, and the Baltimore Orioles seemed to be the main contender for his services, but the teams could never work out a deal. Blanton should fare well in the Dodgers’ park, a notorious pitching place. Blanton has had his struggles this season, but his 8-9 record and 4.59 ERA doesn’t reflect how well he’s actually pitched in 2012.
The Dodgers are fortunate to have gotten a pitcher like Blanton, who can really help a team out in the second half of the year. He thrived when the Phillies traded for him midway through 2008, going 4-0 in 13 starts down the stretch and then hitting a home run in his lone World Series start. Blanton is leading the major leagues in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (1.2), as well as strikeout to walk ratio (6.39) this season, and he has a 3.55 ERA over his last eight starts.
Blanton is significantly better in the second half of the season over his career (38-20, 3.83 ERA) compared to the first half (43-51, 4.72 ERA). And he has a .720 winning percentage in September/October regular season ball, and that 18-7 record is a big reason why the Phillies won four division titles in the four September/Octobers in which they had him.
The Phillies will be starting Kyle Kendrick in Blanton’s place tonight, and they called up pitcher B.J. Rosenberg to take Blanton’s place on the 25-man roster. Rosenberg pitched earlier this season as a reliever in the major leagues although he was starting in Triple-A. He pitched very well in Triple-A (2.00 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 54 IP), but he has been downright miserable in the majors (23.14 ERA, five walks and three hits allowed in 2.1 IP), and he has actually allowed at least two earned runs in all three MLB appearances he’s made.