Yep. You read that right. This game is one of two pontential games that can and will decide if the Phillies will continue to play for a playoff spot - or - if they will sell house by Tuesday. Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that "'If we get swept here it will be daunting. The team needs two out of three or better,". Well Ruben, you're right. The Phillies have two more games to show that they can still compete for a playoff spot. But last night wasn't a good effort at all. Tonight Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.70 ERA) is on the hill against lefty Mike Minor (5-7, 5.49 ERA).
In Blanton's last start, on Sunday against the Giants, he walked off the field with eight innings of three-run ball under his belt. He would get the no-decision as the Phillies would walkoff in the later innings, but Blanton did his job as he allowed seven hits and a walk while striking out six. Blanton has allowed a whopping 22 home runs this season, the fourth most in baseball. Blanton has gone eight innings deep into his last two starts, posting a 2.81 ERA in that span. Unlike his first start against the Braves this season, Blanton was lit up in his most previous. On July 7th, Blanton was tagged for six runs, five of which were earned through 6 1/3 innings of a losing effort. In his career against the Braves, Blanton is 2-5 with a 4.87 ERA.
In Mike Minor's last start, against the Marlins on Monday, he took the loss as he held the Marlins to two runs over seven innings. Allowing just seven hits and striking out four, the Braves were unable to mount a run until the 9th inning. In his past three starts, Minor is posting a 2.33 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .182 average. Minor has turned around a bad start to the season with his past three starts and looks to continue against the Phillies, a team he has not faced this year. In his career (3 2/3 innings), Minor is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA.
Like I noted earlier, this game could make or break the Phillies for the season. Losing the first two of a three game series with just three days before the deadline would put the Phillies in a selling position. Hopefully Joe Blanton can best the Braves tonight and keep the Phils' shots alive.
Tonight's Lineup @ Atlanta:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Hunter Pence, RF
6. Ty Wigginton, 3B
7. John Mayberry, LF
8. Erik Kratz, C
9. Joe Blanton, P
TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.