The Phillies started the month of July red hot, sweeping the Braves at home for the second time in the season, then they went up to New York and won the first game there to make it 4 wins in a row to start off July then lost 3 straight games of the series against NY to lose that series only taking the 1 win and losing 3. The Phillies then won 2 games out of 3 with both the St Louis Cardinals at home and the Dbacks, leading them into a much needed All Star Break.
The Phils will now play the Mets for a three game series Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon with a 12:10 pm start for the businessman’s special. The Phillies then go home for a brief homestand, only 3 games – then an off day next Monday and down to Washington to visit the Nationals to end the month of July and onto St Louis for the first couple days of August.
The Phillies have been getting pretty good pitching out of the starters except for Kyle Kendrick’s outing on Saturday against the Marlins, but they can’t seem to score in situations they should be scoring to take the lead and put the opposing team out of the game.
For game one against the Mets on Tuesday, we see the Phillies newest pickup, pitcher Joe Blanton. Blanton was with the Oakland A’s and this year his record and era have merited the A’s to want to trade him. His record is 5-12 with a 4.69 era. He wore the number 55 in Oakland which is worn by the Phillies Clay Condrey currently, a lot of Phillies players thought Blanton might offer Condrey a gift for him taking the number from him, a lot of times this is the way veteran players keep their numbers, they may offer a watch, ring, or a car to the other player to give up the number, but Blanton didn’t see that to be necessary and he will wear the number 56 for the Phillies when he takes the mound.
Blanton had been mentioned a lot in trade rumors over the last year, but it didn’t happen until a couple of days ago. Blanton writes a blog on MLB blogs called Big Joe’s Bluegrass Blog and in that blog Joe stated that his outings in Texas and Arizona were the reason his era is so high, so maybe we’ll see a brand new “Joe Blanton” pitch on Tuesday night for the Phillies. It will be interesting to see what Joe has to say about the trade in his blog, so check it out.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge is on the way to tying a Phillies record, he has converted 21 of 21 save opportunities for the Phillies, the record for the Phillies is 22 in a row set by Billy Wagner in 2005 – so one more save ties the record and another will break it according to the Elias Sports Bureau and the Phillies Press notes.
The Phillies are 12-18 in their day games this season, not too good there, last year they finished with a record of 27 wins with 23 losses so they have a lot of ground to make up to equal last year’s record.
The Phillies will bring their 53-46 record in against the Mets who have the same record on Tuesday – the difference is the Mets have gone 13-4 in July so far and the Phillies just 9-7 – that has been the reason that the Mets have found themselves in a tie for first with the Fightin Phillies. The Phillies are 26-23 losses on the road this year and they have been tough in the bullpen on the road with only a 2.51 era by the bullpen- they are also tough against left hand pitchers – the last time the Phillies faced Johann Santana, they beat him and the Mets 3-2 on July 4th at Citizens Bank Park.
There is about 10 days left in the season before the trade deadline and trade rumors are still swirling – one sports columnist in Philly says the Phillies should trade the barn in and do whatever is necessary to get Roy Halladay from the Jays, but I think that is an outside chance- unless a big name or two get moved out of Philly and that somebody may be Pat Burrell. I don’t think I would like to see Burrell go especially the way he is playing- he’s been a Philly a long time, and one more contract extension would make him a Phillie for his whole career. So we’ll have to see what if anything will happen at the trade deadline concerning the Phillies, I think they stand “Pat” here and do nothing more.
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Rich Baxter - Fightin Phillies