PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Blanton doesn't mess around once he gets to the pitcher's mound. "He gets the ball, it seems like he knows what he's gonna do, and he gets on the mound and throws the ball," manager Charlie Manuel said of the Phillies' hurler. "He doesn't stand around, take a lot of time. I like that." The 27-year-old has given Philadelphia plenty to like in his past two starts, allowing only one run and five hits in a span of 14 innings. Blanton, acquired by the Phillies in a July trade with the Athletics, held the Pirates scoreless on one hit through seven innings in Friday's game, a contest the Phils ultimately lost in 12 innings.
When Blanton was shipped to Philadelphia in exchange for three prospects, it was the first time the right-hander had been traded. At the time, he was 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA and had been hearing rumors for months that he was going to be traded. "Getting traded to a playoff-contending team and everything that goes with it, they feel a little extra energy," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "And I think Joe felt that." Blanton surrendered five runs in his first start for the Phillies on July 22 against the Mets. His second start was limited to two innings because of a lengthy rain delay. "There's a little adjustment period," Blanton said. "I keep saying, 'It's baseball, there's adjustments everywhere.' There's all kinds of adjustments you have to make all the time." Blanton arrived in Philadelphia with a reputation as a pitcher who could go deep into games, and he began to show that ability in his third start, on Aug. 2 against the Cardinals. The righty earned his first win in a Phillies uniform by holding St. Louis to one run in seven innings. He was even sharper on Friday night against the Pirates. The outing marked the first time in Blanton's 122 career starts that he had allowed only one hit. Manuel and Dubee praised Blanton's improved command, especially of his breaking pitches. "I think the biggest adjustment we talked about is just relaxing and trusting his stuff," Dubee said. "I think a combination of not getting some wins over there in Oakland, and then coming over here in a trade and trying to justify the trade, I think he put too much pressure on himself. And I think, finally, he just kicked back and relaxed a little bit."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.