Found June 14, 2012 on
Fox Sports North:
The Philadelphia Phillies have lost nine straight when scoring fewer than nine runs, and they'll need another big offensive outburst Thursday night unless Joe Blanton can turn things around.Runs may be tough to come by, however, against red-hot Minnesota Twins starter Scott Diamond as these teams decide their interleague series at Target Field.The only two games the Phillies (30-34) have won in their last 11 were Wednesday's 9-8 victory and a 9-6 win for Blanton on Friday at Baltimore.Their output Wednesday - thanks to four RBIs each from Jim Thome and John Mayberry - was barely enough, as they nearly squandered an early six-run lead despite having Cole Hamels on the mound. Thome hit a long home run over the center field backdrop."That's the deep water, and only a few boys can go in the deep water," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.The 41-year-old Thome is 10 for 21 with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last five games - all as a designated hitter in AL parks - after starting the season 2 for 20 with no RBIs, mostly as a pinch hitter. The former Twin is enjoying Philadelphia's nine-game interleague road trip and not thinking about whether he'll be able to play first base after it ends."I try not to look too much ahead," Thome said. "Baseball's that way. You focus on the day and the moment."The struggling Blanton (5-6, 5.40 ERA) may need help, too.The right-hander allowed five runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Orioles, lowering his ERA in his last five outings to 9.91. Opponents are batting .361 with 11 homers over 26 1-3 innings in that stretch."The way things have been going for me, I'm not even thinking about runs," Blanton said. "I'm just trying to survive."Diamond (5-1, 1.61) has thrived in his seven starts this season, after posting a 1-5 record and 5.08 ERA last year in his first seven major league outings.The left-hander hasn't walked anybody or allowed an earned run while winning his last two starts. He struck out five and scattered seven hits over six scoreless innings Saturday in an 11-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, improving to 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA in four home starts."We've been trying to attack inside the whole time," Diamond said. "I found out last year that was my game plan and my style of pitching. Just trying to build off that and develop the other pitches around it."Gardenhire would love a long outing from Diamond after Wednesday's starter P.J. Walters failed to record an out. He allowed four hits, and eventually four runs, before leaving with a shoulder problem.Diamond has won both of his interleague starts but has never faced the Phillies. Blanton is 4-4 with a 4.45 ERA in eight starts against the Twins, limiting Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to a combined three extra-base hits in 43 at-bats.Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham could be equally big concerns for Blanton and the Phillies. Plouffe homered Wednesday for the fourth time in five games - he's 10 for 20 with nine RBIs in that stretch - while Willingham also went deep for the second straight game to extend his hitting streak to 15.The Twins (25-36) are trying to avoid their first back-to-back losses since a five-game skid May 23-27. The Phillies haven't won consecutive games in nearly as long, since May 30 and June 1.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Jim Thome's three-run home run and Joe Blanton's complete-game helped the Phillies beat the Twins, 6-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
It will go down in the books as the second complete game for Joe Blanton. But the Phillies might as well get a complete game as well.
For a team that has struggled to find its way lately, the Phillies had everything from start to...
After allowing a minimum of 5 runs in each of his last 5 starts, no one expected a stand-out performance from Joe Blanton last night against the Twins. But the oddities this Phillies season seemingly never cease.
Going the whole 9 innings, Blanton allowed only 1 run on a solo homer, 7 hits and struck out 7. Blanton’s season has gone from great to awful and now, back to great again...
It seems like the only way we're going to be able to beat teams is by scoring a lot of runs. It took 9 last night to beat the Twins and they still almost caught up to us. It's a good thing that the bats are working, but at the same time it's a bad thing that the pitchers aren't. Cole Hamels gave up six earned runs last night, a season-high. Tonight, Joe Blanton (5...
Philadelphia Phillies (30-34) vs. Minnesota Twins (25-36)
Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.40) vs. Scott Diamond (5-1, 1.61)
Time: 8:10, Target Field
TV: WB 17
Weather: Thunderstorms, 80
Media: Twitter and Facebook
The Phillies will be trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since May 30 and June 1. Overall they have lost nine of their last 11 games. Before last night, the...
Since Roy Halladay suffered a shoulder injury in St. Louis on May 27, Phillies starting pitchers have been in a collective slump. Entering play Thursday, Philadelphia's All-Star laden rotation had a 5.97 ERA in 15 games. Joe Blanton had been a big part of that downward turn. In each of his past five starts entering Thursday, Blanton had allowed at least five runs; he had a...
Joe Blanton of the Philadelphia Phillies slots in behind the aces. How do the Braves compare at the bottom of their rotation? The Apocalyptic Horsemen Stats are in my recent coverage linked below.
TAL’S HANDY STATS
I am alternating a game-day 2012 ERA For The NL East and a 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. See link section below. In each publication, the number...
Final: Phillies 6, Twins 1.
WP: Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93)
LP: Scott Diamond (5-2, 2.13)
Joe Blanton has thrown a complete game for just the eighth time in his nine-year Major League Baseball career. He allowed just seven hits while striking out eight and walking none.
Jim Thome hit another mammoth home run Thursday evening for his 11th, 12th, and 13th run batted in of the season...
It all sounds like the typical underdog story. Scott Diamond, a lefty, went undrafted out of college. He signed with the Braves and pitched in their system through the 2010 season, at which point Atlanta had to make a choice. Either the Braves could make a commitment to Diamond and place him on the 40-man roster, or they could leave him exposed to the Rule 5 draft and risk losing...
MINNEAPOLIS Two bad pitches was all it took for Twins left-hander Scott Diamond to pick up his second loss of the season.
Diamond allowed four runs on five hits Thursday as the Twins fell, 6-1, to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies. For Minnesota, Thursday's loss meant it dropped the series to Philadelphia, snapping a streak of four consecutive series wins. It was just Diamond...
The Phillies looked really good tonight for the first time in a while. The bats were working and the arm of their starting pitcher, Joe Blanton, was good enough to defeat the Twins 5-1.
The Phils struck first in the second inning when Ty Wigginton hit a solo home run, his seventh of the season. Although the Phillies were up 1-0, it wouldn't be long until the Twins got on...
Joe Blanton pitched his second complete game of the season and Jim Thome homered for the second day in a row to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Blanton (6-6) gave up seven hits and struck out seven while going the distance for the sixth time in his career, snapping an ugly string of five straight starts with at least five...
MINNEAPOLIS — Philadelphia’s starting rotation has been stuck in a bit of a tailspin since ace Roy Halladay went down with a shoulder injury late last month.
With studs Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels still hurling, who would have thought Fat Joe Blanton would be the one to step up and deliver a sterling performance? Not Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, that’s for sure.