Phillies' Blanton To Start Game Four
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Joe Blanton planned as if he'd pitch Sunday. Now he will.
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel had held on a starter for Game 4 of the NL division series, hoping his team would end the series Saturday night. But after Milwaukee won Game 3, Manuel confirmed the burly right-hander will start Sunday.
The Phillies lead the best-of-five series 2-1.
"I've been ready for this game."
Blanton is 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA since the Phillies acquired him July 17 from the Oakland Athletics, with wins in his last two starts. He hasn't pitched since Sept. 26, two days before the end of the regular season, but Blanton said the layoff won't affect him.
He went 13 days between starts after the trade, thanks to the All-Star break, and it made for a rough adjustment to Philadelphia. He didn't get his first win for the Phillies until his third start, and lasted just two innings in his second outing. But the scenarios are completely different, Blanton said.
"I'll have had three bullpens between my last start and tomorrow, so I'm getting consistent work in," he said before Saturday's game. "I'm here at the park and I'm throwing every day. ... (The July layoff), the biggest part was I wasn't doing anything. That's what really gets you, is sitting around."
With the roof closed, the noise in Miller Park on Saturday night was deafening and more of the same can be expected Sunday. The Brewers also showed much more patience at the plate than they had in the first two games, chasing Jamie Moyer after 90 pitches in just four innings.
Moyer needed 21 pitches to get the first out alone, and was at 62 after two innings.
"Just because a team is patient one day doesn't necessarily mean they will be the next day," Blanton said. "You just have to come out throwing your game and adjust from there as the game goes on."
Blanton has only made one postseason appearance, pitching two innings of scoreless relief for Oakland in 2006. But Manuel is confident the right-hander is ready for Sunday's challenge.
"I've seen him, this year, throw about three or four good games," Manuel said. "If he's getting his strike zone down early, he's capable of pitching a real good ballgame. I think he'll be OK."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)