Hol-ee Kalas, I think I might jump out of my face. The WFC Phillies are going to play some baseball today. It'll be the most meaningful meaningless game we've ever heard (tune in: 1PM on WPHT 1210 AM or WUBA 1480 AM), with Jamie Moyer scheduled to get the "start" and Hammerin' Joe Blanton taking the mound for the next few innings against the Buccos.
We could all write the book on the hero that is Mr. Moyer, but there's plenty more we could learn about Blanton. For instance, this quote that David Murphy dug up from Blanton's former GM Billy "Brad Pitt" Beane:
"You can see it on the mound," A's general manager Billy Beane said.
"He's grinding his teeth to keep it in. Early on, it affected him a
little bit, but, as he matured, he found a way to keep it under
control. The guy's a warrior. He's an absolute and total warrior
between the lines. He and Tim Hudson are the two best competitors, as
far as pitchers, we've ever had."
Pretty glowing praise from a guy known for valuing statistical production above just about everything else. Like the rest of his 2008 teammates, Blanton has earned lifelong respect in this town. He hit a home run in the frickin World Series.
But we've yet to see him over the course of an entire season, something we'll get to do beginning this afternoon. A relatively strong season from Blanton could be one of the key components of another division title this year, as we saw in 2008, when his addition helped shore up a lost rotation. He wasn't perfect, but he was more than good enough down the stretch and in the playoffs.
In one start against the Pirates last year, Blanton one-hit them for
seven innings, striking out seven. Am I making too much of what's
likely to be a two-inning appearance today in the Grapefruit League? Oh you bet.
The Zo-han has today's starting lineup for the Phils. Can you believe it's here?