How Joe Blanton Will Help LA Dodgers Down the Stretch

Robert PaceContributor IIIAugust 15, 2012

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 11:  Joe Blanton #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 11, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Dodger fans were elated at the exciting news that the team had acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins before the trade deadline; however, many were worried about the starting rotation, as the Blue Crew traded its young, promising starter Nathan Eovaldi in the process.

It turns out, the fans weren’t the only ones concerned about the gap in the rotation, and the Dodgers acquired veteran right-hander Joe Blanton from the Phillies on waivers after the trade deadline, following a failed attempt to sign Ryan Dempster.

While adding a pitcher was a good move, is Blanton the right guy for the job?

Blanton was mediocre in his first two outings wearing Dodger Blue, giving up six earned runs and picking up his first loss.

In his first outing, the 31-year-old gave up a home run, and according to his track record, the Dodgers will be watching plenty more opposing players jogging the bases after a long-ball.

Blanton has given up 23 home runs this season (T-6th, MLB), 19 of which were given up in 11 consecutive starts in which he gave up at least one home run.

While that statistic combined with a 4.61 earned run average and 8-10 record may be alarming, it’s worth noting that Blanton posts similar statistics to the man he replaced as the Dodgers’ No. 5 starter: Ted Lilly.

Lilly, who has been labeled as a fly-ball pitcher, gave up an average of nearly one home run per start last season.  While the Dodgers would like to have Lilly back by October, having Blanton take his spot in the meantime is an ample substitution, if not an upgrade.

While it's safe to say that Joe Blanton probably won't ever be a savior for the Dodgers and may not have the impact that some fans would like him to have, he brings a valuable intangible asset to the Blue Crew that can help them along the way: Experience.

Better yet, the 31-year-old righty has World Series experience, and the Dodgers have set their hopes high for this season after bulking up their roster with superstars Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino before the trade deadline.

Although the results may vary this time around, Blanton won a World Series last time he was traded.

After a solid three seasons with the Oakland A's, Blanton bombed in the first half of the 2008 season, posting a 5-12 record, and was then traded to the Phillies.

While run support may have played a factor as well, he went undefeated with his new team and posted two key playoff wins that helped the Phillies to a World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Although the Dodgers lost a potential future ace in Nathan Eovaldi to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade and would prefer that Ted Lilly wasn't bogged down on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Blanton exceeds the aforementioned pitchers with his valuable experience.

Joe Blanton isn't a savior, but he's been there--and just may help take the Dodgers there in October.