Behind big games from Joe Blanton and Jimmy Rollins, the Phils took out their chief NL East adversary (albeit a split squad) 3-1 at Bright House Field.
Blanton, the understated fifth ace (pictured right in an understated way), continued his steady showing this spring with six shutout innings, using his off-speed pitch and improved cutter to strike out four. Following Blanton, the Phillies provided a glimpse of what life might look like without Brad Lidge, with Danys Baez working the seventh, allowing a run, but displaying a good curve, and Ryan Madson setting up for “Big Truck” Jose Contreras, who closed it with a perfect inning, including two strikeouts. The Phils haven’t announced who will close. Jimmy Rollins blasted a two-run homer in the first, part of a 2-for-3 afternoon, while Luis Castillo made his case with a hard single, two walks and a double play turned.
Notes: Placido Polanco played but is still reeling from a hyperextended elbow. He could play later this weekend, according to reports. Mike Sweeney will officially retire at the Royals’ spring training complex in Arizona. He hit .231/.310/.385 with two homers in his brief, hug-filled stay with the Phillies.