Phillies' Joe Blanton: Viable Playoff Pitcher In 2010?

Chris KentContributor IAugust 26, 2010

ATLANTA - MAY 31:  Pitcher Joe Blanton #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Joe Blanton, the pitcher most notably remember for hitting a homerun vs. then Tampa Bay Ray, now White Sox Pitcher Edwin Jackson.

Blanton has had his fair share off up and downs, but I'm here to let you know if his ups and downs, may produce an up or down for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Blanton consistently throws a high-80s to mid-90s fastball, with a straight change-up, a slider, and a 12-6 Breaking Ball in his repertoire, has been having his trouble this year. Blanton suffered a strained oblique in Spring Training, and was on the Disabled List to begin the season.

Since his return to the Phillies' roster, he has been the No. 4 starter behind Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer.

Since then, the Phillies have placed Moyer on the Disabled List, and acquired Roy Oswalt, who we all know can play left field now as well as pitch.

Blanton has been terrible in the first Inning, as since the All-Star Break, Blanton has a ERA (Earned Run Average) of over 10 in the first inning, allowing one HR, and three walks. 

Although in his latest three starts vs. San Francisco and two vs. Houston, he has dimmed down the first inning fireworks, but can his fireworks show start to explode again?

Assuming Blanton pitches in the playoffs, would he pitch both as a fourth starter and a long reliever?

With the struggles of relievers J.C. Romero, Danys Baez and sinkerballer David Herndon, does Blanton's performance affect the roles of not only Kyle Kendrick, the fifth starter in the Phils' rotation, but of the bullpen pitchers of Romero, Baez and Herndon?

So, after considering that, consider Blanton all time in postseason play is 2-0, pitching 34.2 Innings, with a 3.89 ERA and 30 Strikeouts. So, it seems Blanton can hold his own on the mound, but does the Blanton-of-old return?