"Woo look at me I'm pitching in the ninth inning! THIS IS SO COOL!!" Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Last year, there were these two games in Colorado. One was started by Kyle Kendrick, and the following game was started by Roy Halladay. In his start, Kendrick pitched eight strong innings, giving up four hits, two walks, and no runs. In Halladay's start the next day, Doc gave up eight hits and five runs (four earned) in seven innings. I suspected it was a real life version of Freaky Friday, where they switched bodies and had to pretend to be each other.
That's kind of what this feels like.
After last night's game of insanely insane insanity, the Phillies cruised to a 4-0 win over the Braves this afternoon. The Phils scored one in the first on two singles (hit by Jimmy Rollins and Juan Pierre) and a sac fly (from Hunter Pence). that was the only run on the board -- for either team -- until Laynce Nix took Randall Delgado deep with two outs in the 7th. Until that homer, Delgado had sat down 17 straight Phillies. Livan Hernandez pitched the 9th for the Braves, and he served up a 2-run home run to Shane Victorino, who has taken my advice to stop sucking.
The increased offense is all well and good, but the real story of today's game was Joe Blanton's virtuoso performance. Today, Blanton twirled the third complete game shutout of his career, his first complete game of any kind since 2007, and his first as a Phillie. He allowed just three hits, no walks (none!) and racked up six strikeouts. The best part? He did it in 88 pitches. 88. His three hits came in the first inning, the fifth inning, and with one out in the ninth. That ninth inning hit was erased just moments later when Martin Prado hit into a double play to end the game.
I recapped Blanton's last start against the Cubs, which was also a fantastic (and highly enjoyable) outing. I have to say, out of everyone on the Phillies' pitching staff, I'm rooting the hardest for Blanton. While I in no way think this kind of pitching is sustainable, I don't particularly care right now. Watching him pitch well is a treat.
Today's Fangraph is much less frightening than last night's. Thank God.