In his press conference today, Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel announced that RHP Joe Blanton will start Game Four of the World Series. Cliff Lee will start Game Five.
When asked why he will go with Blanton in Game Four, Manuel said, "I think Blanton fits for us because I think we want to keep [J.A.] Happ right now in the bullpen, especially kind of in the middle where he could do some innings, and also Joe pitched last year in the World Series, and he’s got a little bit more experience."
Blanton is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four starts versus the New York Yankees lifetime. All of Blanton’s starts against the Yankees were with the Oakland As.
Despite Blanton’s lack of success versus the Yankees, this is the right move for the Phillies. Lee threw too many pitches in Game One to come back on three days' rest, plus Lee has never pitched on three games' rest before.
If a guy is on a roll like Lee is, you probably don’t want to mess with him.
I also think it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Blanton pitches well on Sunday night. Remember, this is a Yankees lineup that didn’t hit Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano or Joe Saunders in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Blanton is in the same mold as those pitchers.
Game Four is Sunday night at 8:20 ET.