Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blanton's World Series blast will live on in Phils' history

PBR - Joe Blanton was acquired at the 2008 trade deadline to strengthen the backend of the starting rotation and proved to be an integral piece of the Phillies' World Series run.

Ironically, Blanton's most memorable moment with the Phillies was with the bat. 

Joe Blanton - Phillies pitcher
With two-out in the bottom of the fifth in Game 4 of the World Series Blanton parked an Edwin Jackson 2-1 fastball into the seats in left field. The solo blast gave the Phils a 6-2 advantage over Tampa Bay and marked the first time since 1974 that a pitcher hit a home run in a World Series contest.

"My job is not to go out there and hit home runs," Blanton said afterward. "My job is to go out there and throw the ball well and give my team a chance to win. And when you hear that applause coming off the mound after pitching, you kind of get that sense you did your job." 

Blanton went on to toss six strong innings, surrendering two runs on four hits as the Phillies trumped the Rays 10-2. 

Dating back to the trade deadline, Blanton failed to get past the fifth inning just once. He finished the '08 postseason 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA.
"It was almost like getting to start over," Blanton said. "So it almost made me think, all right, I can start over here, a team competing for the playoffs and try to put some good starts together, and help out any way I can." 

Blanton was traded to Los Angeles earlier this week after the Dodgers claimed the 31-year-old via waivers. The right-hander, earning $8.5 million this year, will be a free agent after this season.

"I remember the parade, going down Broad Street and all the fans everywhere," Blanton said. "Just the thrill of being able to come to such a baseball city. The fans have been unbelievable the whole time I've been here. I've had an amazing time here." 

What will you remember most about Blanton's time in Philadelphia?

- Patrick Gordon  is the editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com or @Philabaseball on Twitter.

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