Philadelphia Phillies: Could Blanton's Injury Be the End for Him in Philly?

Casey SchermickContributor IIIMay 5, 2011

Joe Blanton's injury looked like just another blow to the Phillies pitching staff.  Granted Blanton was struggling at the beginning of the year, but when you lose pitcher after pitcher, you start to get concerned.

The injury, however, could not have come at a better time for Vance Worley.

Worley was recalled from AAA Lehigh Valley to replace Blanton in the rotation.  In his 2011 debut, he pitched six innings of two-hit ball.  He fanned five and did not allow a run. 

Then to show that it wasn't just a fluke, he came out and dominated again against the Washington Nationals Wednesday night.  Worley again tossed six innings, allowing four hits while striking out seven. 

He did, however, allow a run after two very questionable calls from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.  The run snapped a scoreless streak of 21.2 innings for Worley dating back to last season.  And if that isn't good enough, he extended his 2011 hit streak to two games.

Worley has a career ERA of 1.08 with a WHIP of 0.88 in seven appearances with Philadelphia.

Worley's real test will come Monday when he faces the Florida Marlins on the road.  Teams now have video on him pitching and he will have to prove that his pitching is for real.  If he continues to have the success he is now, Blanton could see his time in Philadelphia coming to an end soon. 

There were many concerns going into the season about a fifth starter if Blanton were to be traded and if Worley continues to answer those questions, it will be very difficult for Ruben Amaro Jr. to keep Blanton. 

There have been many rumors lately that the Phillies could be looking for a utility man such as Nate Schierholtz to fill in if Utley is out for an extended period of time.  Or they could potentially go shopping for a young, successful closer to help anchor the bullpen. 

Lidge is very inconsistent and is on the 60-day DL.  He also could see his time in Philadelphia coming to an end after this year.

Worley has been very impressive so far and Blanton's job could be in jeopardy.  If Worley continues to pitch like he has in his first two starts, the Phillies front office could have a lot of thinking to do.