Joe Blanton was picked to start Game 4 of the World Series for the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Friday he will go with Blanton against the New York Yankees rather than ace Cliff Lee on short rest. Lee, who has never pitched on three days’ rest, is slated to start Game 5.
“I don’t think he’s ready for it on three days’ rest,” Manuel said. “I think you’re taking a chance on really pushing him.”
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The World Series was tied 1-all as it shifted to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Saturday night. Manuel said if the Series goes seven games, Lee could be available for the finale.
“That would be on his bullpen day, and he might be able to pitch,” the manager said.
Manuel also could have turned to left-hander J.A. Happ in Game 4, but the rookie will stay in the bullpen.
“I think Blanton fits for us because I think we want to keep Happ right now in the bullpen, especially kind of in the middle where he could do some innings,” Manuel said. “And also, Joe pitched last year in the World Series, and he’s got a little bit more experience.”
Blanton started Game 4 against Tampa Bay last year and combined with four relievers on a five-hitter in a 10-2 win that gave the Phillies a 3-1 Series lead. Blanton homered off Edwin Jackson in that one, the first Series home run by a pitcher since Oakland’s Ken Holtzman in 1974.
Blanton was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA this season. He got a no-decision in his only postseason start, allowing three earned runs over six innings in Game 4 of the NL championship series against the Dodgers. He made two relief appearances against Colorado in the first round.
The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees. He has allowed 22 hits, including five homers, and 12 walks in 22 innings.
Eric Hinske, 4 for 18 (.222) with two doubles and two homers against Blanton, could play right field for New York in Game 4 over slumping Nick Swisher (1 for 3 against Blanton).
Mark Teixeira is 9 for 27 with three homers off Blanton, and Alex Rodriguez is 4 for 7 with two homers.