Can Blanton Tame The Mets?

It's looking more and more like a Phillies versus Mets showdown in the second half of the season. The Mets made acquiring Johan Santana a priority in the off-season and now, the Phillies have Joe Blanton to run out there against New York (which they will in his first start as a Phillie). So, should the boys from New York be dreading seeing Blanton in a Phillies uniform?

If there is a hidden plus in acquiring Joe Blanton, it's that the New York Mets just can't figure him out. Blanton has faced the Metropolitans twice in his career and has not allowed an earned run over 15 innings of work.

June 14, 2005 at Network Associates Coliseum

Tom Glavine (4-5) got the start for the New York Mets who were facing a scuffling Joe Blanton (1-6). The Mets lineup featured a young Jose Reyes, an aging Mike Piazza and an up-and-coming David Wright.

Oakland threatened in the first, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Glavine battled back to get Eric Chavez on a pop-up to first and Bobby Crosby to fly out to center fielder Carlos Beltran to end the inning. While Glavine set down Oakland in order in the second, they would take a 1-0 lead in the third when Mark Kotsay doubled with two out and scored on an RBI single by Bobby Kielty. Meanwhile, Blanton didn't allow a hit through the first four innings, putting the first 14 Mets hitters down in order, until Marlon Anderson lined a single to right to give the Mets their first baserunner. Glavine was getting hit hard and Mark Ellis delivered a bases-loaded double in the fourth to plate two runs and an inning later, the A's picked up an unearned run as they took a 4-0 lead and chased Glavine after six innings of work.

For his part, Blanton was cruising, giving up just one hit and no walks through the first seven innings. In the eighth though, he gave up a leadoff single to Piazza, followed immediately by another single to Anderson as the Mets mounted a charge. Blanton was done for the day and gave way to Kiko Calero who got an out but then issued a walk to load the bases, bringing on Huston Street. The young Street immediately got Victor Diaz to hit into an inning ending double-play and then put down the Mets with little resistance in the ninth, notching his fourth save of the season and giving Blanton his second win of the season.

June 23, 2007 at Shea Stadium

It's been two years since Blanton has faced the New York Mets and young hitters like Reyes and Wright are all grown up now. Unlike how Blanton was scuffling the last time he faced the Mets, he came into this game with a 7-4, 3.42 line on the season and was facing Orlando Hernandez, who was also pitching well for the New Yorkers.

Blanton again came out sharp, giving up just two hits through the first five innings, but Hernandez was also pitching well and had kept the A's off the board through five as well. In the sixth, Ricky Ledee led off with a double and Hernandez was unable to get a bunt down and struck out. Reyes followed with a walk and the Mets had the first threat of the game. Paul LoDuca argued a strike call and was promptly tossed by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson; Ramon Castro finished the at bat and struck out. Beltran followed with a single to left, but Travis Buck came up throwing and launched a perfect strike to Jason Kendall to nail Ledee at the plate and end the inning, keeping the game scoreless. Blanton set down the Mets in order in the seventh and gave up a meaningless single in the eighth before being lifted for pinch-hitter Marco Scutaro in the top of the ninth. The move didn't pay off and the game went to the bottom of the ninth as a nothing-nothing stand-off. Santiago Casilla replaced Blanton and got into immediate trouble by giving up a leadoff double to Castro, who had stayed in the game to catch. Oakland then walked Beltran intentionally, but Wright followed with a walk-off double as the Mets took a 1-0 win.

Blanton versus the Mets

2005 1 0 0.00 1 7.0 3 0 0 0 0 4 0.43 89-59
2007 0 0 0.00 1 8.0 5 0 0 0 1 6 0.75 109-69
TOTAL 1 0 0.00 2 15.0 8 0 0 0 1 10 0.60 198-128

Blanton versus Mets hitters

Beltran 0 0 .333 6 0 2 0 1 .333 .333
Reyes 0 0 .000 6 0 0 1 0 .143 .143
Wright 0 0 .200 5 0 1 0 1 .200 .200
Anderson 0 0 .667 3 0 2 0 0 .667 .667
Church 0 0 .333 3 0 1 0 1 .500 .333
Delgado 0 0 .000 3 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Schneider 0 0 1.000 1 0 1 2 0 1.000 1.000
TOTALS 0 0 .259 27 0 7 3 3 .355 .259

In case you were wondering, Blanton has never pitched against the Braves or Marlins. He has faced some hitters on those two clubs with results not nearly as good as against the Mets.

Blanton versus Braves and Marlins hitters

Teixeira 3 7 .333 27 9 1 0 0 3 .333 .704
Norton 0 0 .400 5 2 1 0 1 2 .500 .600
Infante 0 0 .000 2 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Gotay 0 0 .000 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
Cantu 1 3 .286 7 2 1 0 1 1 .375 .857
Amezaga 1 4 .500 2 1 0 0 0 0 .500 2.000
TOTALS 5 14 .318 44 14 3 0 2 7 .348 .727

Blanton faced the Washington Nationals once and it came in 2005. The Nationals got the better of Blanton, beating him 4-3 with Blanton lasting six innings and giving up four earned runs (6.00 ERA) and taking the loss. The Phillies had faced Blanton just once and lost to him 4-2 in Oakland earlier this season. In that game, Blanton threw seven innings, giving up four hits and four walks and allowing one earned run (1.29 ERA). Pedro Feliz has seen the most of Blanton among Phillies players from his time in San Francisco and is 4-for-12 (.333) against Blanton with a home run and four RBI.

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