The season's first half comes to a merciful end this afternoon as the Phillies limp into the All-Star break 14 games out of first and 12 below .500. Jair Jurrjens faces Vance Worley.
Beerleaguer: You know who I'm sick of? Joe Blanton. Does anyone see the point anymore? There's no point. Not at this stage and not on this team. His contract is set to expire. He's not part of the future. He's not pitching well; 20 homers and 124 hits leads the league in both categories. His value (back-of-the-rotation starter, postseason experience, won't embarrass you, can pitch the occasional gem, can reliaby eat innings) - has no great purpose for a team whose season will end at game 162. I'd sooner mix and match the rest of the season with a young arm like Tyler Cloyd, or the mercinaries at Triple-A (Pat Misch, Scott Elarton) than grin and bear more Blanton and leave the possibility of even a middle-tier prospect on the table. Wouldn't Blanton make at least a little sense for a team like the Yankees? God I hope so.
On Utley: "On another depressing night of Phils' baseball, the most depressing was watching Chase Utley at the plate and watching him swing with his upper body with little leg movement. To me, he looks a lot like the guy last year who wasn't turning on the ball with his whole body and is pulling off early. Look on his face late in the game in the dugout was one of pure dejection. Can't remember seeing him look like that. Not sure if it is because of whole the team is doing or the amount of pain/discomfort he is in. Probably a combination of the two." - MG
Manuel's lineup: "I agree with everyone who cited the utter senselessness of hitting Pierre 7th and Victorino 2nd. Charlie Manuel isn't stupid; he's rigid. Which might be worse. He gets a fixed idea and he has this machismo about sticking with it no matter what anyone thinks. Looking forward to this team being pulled apart, and I truly hope that it is. The guy I'd be looking to get value for right now is Hunter Pence. His numbers are deceptively respectable."