Joe Blanton, who last started a game Sept. 29, threw an 80-pitch simulated game Tuesday and is expected to be tabbed as the Game 4 starter Wednesday at AT&T Park. (Getty Images)
David Murphy summarized the Blanton situation today in the Daily News: “Last year, Blanton went 16 days between his final start of the regular season and his first start of the postseason, pitching twice in relief in the National League Division Series before taking the mound against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS. The result was a 5-4 win over the Dodgers in which he allowed three earned runs on six hits in six innings of work. This time around, Blanton is not sure when he will be pitching. On Tuesday, Charlie Manuel sounded like a man who was leaning toward using four starters against the Giants. Of course, a lot depends on how the series unfolds. Manuel has the option of starting Roy Halladay in Game 4 on 3 days' rest, which would line him up for a potential Game 7 start on 3 days' rest. But, for now, everybody seems to be operating under the assumption that Blanton will get a start at some point during this best-of-seven series.” [Link]
Blanton, who is 2-0 with a 4.13 ERA in five starts (seven appearances) with the Phillies in the postseason, went 6-1 with a 3.48 ERA after the All-Star break.
Venezuelan Winter League: Beerleaguer wouldn’t be doing its due diligence if it neglected the Venezuelan Winter League, even in the midst of a postseason. Venezuela is known for producing sure-handed infielders. Not surprisingly, eight Phillies farmhands, mostly infielders, are slated to participate this season, including Harold Garcia, Fidel Hernandez, Cesar Hernandez, Edgar Duran, Freddy Galvis and veteran Melvin Dorta, who may or may not be back with the club next season. Left-hander Sergio Escalona is also trying to put himself back on the map after falling off the Phillies radar this season. Brian Gordon, a veteran outfielder-turned-reliever who pitched 40 games with Lehigh Valley, is also listed.