The Yin and Yang of Joe Blanton, OK It’s Mostly Yang
By David Schroeder
He’s gotta fall through the thin ice at some point, doesn’t he?
Last week when the Angels announced Joe Blanton was being skipped in the rotation, there was a collective sigh of relief from Angels fans, and some say angelic sounds of the Hallelujah Chorus could be heard emanating from the Big A. Yesterday, as soon as I noticed who was pitching in game two of the Angels current series with the Mariners, quite the opposite effect happened… and if you listened closely, the sound coming from the Big A sounded more like the music that accompanies scenes featuring the Galactic Empire in Star Wars, you know… this… Dun dun dun dundidun dundidunnn.
So what gives… is this start Joe Blanton‘s last chance? If not, when will the Angels officially give up on Blanton? The Angels can’t exactly afford to just give games away at this point… and Blanton so far this season has amounted to just that, an all but guaranteed loss.
In just a little over 72 innings pitched, Blanton has amassed a record of one win against ten losses, an ERA of almost six, and a whopping 1.63 WHIP. To put that in perspective, that’s good for dead last in wins and losses, second to last in ERA (just ahead of Wily Peralta), and third to last in WHIP. In fact, if you look up most any other stat, Blanton is in the bottom 10 of just about every category. If he continues on this track, and the Angels actually allow him to continue pitching in the starting rotation, we may just see the first 30 game loser in the modern era. The record during said modern era… is 26 losses by the way, achieved twice, by Bob Groom in 1909 and ironically, a guy named Happy (Happy Townsend) in 1904. Both pitched for Washington. 26 definitely looks doable at this point for Blanton.
What’s strange is Blanton did show signs over a short stretch of being an effective pitcher. Not coincidentally, that was when chatter about Jerome Williams possibly replacing him in the starting rotation was heating up. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds after another bad outing and hitting the 10 loss milestone this season.
Realistically, even the most stubborn of managers, which Mike Scioscia most certainly can be, cannot just continue with a guy that is almost single-handedly killing any hope of the Angels getting back in the playoff hunt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see not only a quick hook, but a more permanent change to the starting rotation if Blanton lays another egg tonight.
Quite frankly, this team just cannot afford to wait for Blanton to come around. If he didn’t feel a sense of urgency before, you can bet he most certainly feels it now, whether he admits it or not.
I joked yesterday that if Blanton has another bad outing and kills any momentum the team had after yesterday’s dominating win over the Marinators, you may just see fans mobbing the stadium with pitchforks and torches in hand, ready to burn that mother down so to speak. And the more I think about it… I’m not so sure I was joking.