Joe Blanton faces lefty Randy Wolf tonight in game four.
The 33-year-old Wolf was very good for LA this season, throwing to a 3.23 ERA and a 1.10 ratio over 34 starts. In 214 1/3 innings he allowed just 178 hits. He was tenth in the NL in innings pitched. Lefties were helpless against him this year, posting a 159/217/200 line for the season. They had four extra-base hits, two doubles, a triple and a home run, on the year.
Wolf was better away from Dodger Stadium than he was at it. 7-4 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.06 ratio in 16 starts away from home and 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 18 starts at home.
He faced the Phils twice this season. He was good the first time but not the second. On May 13 he held the Phils to a run over six innings as the Dodgers rolled to a 9-2 win over Moyer and the Phillies in Philadelphia. On June 7 Ruiz and Victorino both hit homers off of him in LA as the Phils won 7-2. Wolf allowed six runs in 6 1/3 innings in that game, which was his only start on the year in which he allowed six or more runs.
Wolf started game one of the NLDS against the Cardinals and allowed two runs on six hits and five walks over 3 2/3 innings in the only post-season start of his career. He had not walked five batters in a game in any start in the regular season.
The Phillies took Wolf in the second round of the 1997 draft. He pitched for the Phils from 1999 through 2006. His won 16 games and went to the All-Star game in 2003, but his best year may have been 2002 when he went 11-9 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.12 ratio over 31 starts. After the 2006 season he signed with the Dodgers and made 18 starts for LA in ’07. It looked like the Phillies were about to sign him as a free agent in December of 2007, but it didn’t happen. Gillick came up with this memorable quote about Wolf and the situation after it had become apparent that Wolf would sign with the Padres: “Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. We went after him a couple times, and it didn’t work out last year and this year. So, it’s pretty evident that he doesn’t want to play for our team. If someone doesn’t want to be part of the team, it’s better if he plays somewhere else.” Wolf made 21 starts for the Padres in 2008 before they traded him to the Astros. He made 12 starts for the Astros before signing with the Dodgers again for the 2009 season.
Feliz is the Phillie who has faced Wolf the most over his career. He’s 5-for-17 with three home runs against him. Ruiz 4-for-6 with two doubles and a homer. Howard 1-for-9 with a double and four strikeouts. Utley 1-for-8 with four strikeouts. Werth 1-for-9 with a home run and three walks. Victorino 3-for-9 with a double and a homer. Rollins 3-for-6 with a home run. Ibanez 3-for-11 with two doubles.
Blanton made 31 starts for the Phillies this season, going 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.32 ratio over 195 1/3 innings. He allowed 30 home runs, which was a career high.
He made one start against the Dodgers this season. On June 6 he pitched well, holding LA to a run on five hits and a walk over six innings, but Kuroda was a little better and LA won 3-2 on a twelfth inning home run that Ethier hit off of Durbin. Ethier also homered off of Blanton in that game, giving LA the only run they would manage off of him.
Blanton has made two appearances in the post-season for the Phillies this year, both in the NLDS against the Rockies. In game two he threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the Phillies down 4-0 in relief of Hamels. He also pitched in game three. In that game he entered in the bottom of the fourth in relief of Happ and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits.
He was great in the 2008 post-season, making three starts in which he went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio. The worst of his three ’08 playoff starts came against the Dodgers. He started game four against Derek Lowe, which is the game where Victorino tied it with a late home run and Stairs homered off of Broxton. Blanton didn’t pitch very well in the game, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks over five innings.
Fellow former American Leaguers Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez have both faced Blanton a ton over their careers. Blake is an ugly 1-for-21 with three walks against him and Manny an ugly in a different way 14-for-25 with a double and a home run (560/600/720). Ethier 5-for-11 with two home runs. Kemp 2-for-11 with a double. Loney 5-for-8 with a walk. Martin 2-for-7 with a double.