Joe Blanton allowed four runs in seven plus innings, and the offense was held in check again, as the Phillies dropped their third game in a row to the St. Louis Cardinals to drop to 48-45 on the season.
While the game didn’t end until Greg Dobbs flied out in the top of the ninth inning, it was over long before that, due to a serious of curious moves from Charlie Manuel that has become a disturbing trend as of late.
It was in the top of the seventh inning, the score was tied at one apiece, and Carlos Ruiz worked a walk off St. Louis starter Jamie Garcia to load the bases. Joe Blanton, who had allowed one run over six innings, was due up. And with two outs, Charlie made the curious decision of letting his pitcher hit instead of opting for a pinch-hitter.
Blanton struck out on three pitches.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cardinals needed only one pitch to make Charlie regret his mistake, when Matt Holliday hit the first offering of the inning over the left field wall to give the Cards the lead, which they would not relinquish.
It was an outcome that everyone saw coming, and quite frankly, one that the Phillies deserved.
Despite how well Blanton was pitching at that point in the game, a pinch hitter would have significantly increased the team’s chances of taking the lead. Of course, this speaks to the much larger issue of how much Charlie does not trust his bench or his bullpen.
But all that aside, the Phillies were in position to take the lead, and they failed to even put themselves in a position to take advantage. The Cardinals jumped on that missed opportunity and never looked back, as they added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, also off Blanton, who was inexplicably sent out to start the inning.
And like I said on Twitter: The “L” shouldn’t be charged to Joe Blanton, but to Charlie Manuel.
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