The headlines from last night go to Jayson Werthas he morphs into an indestructible force, and the Phillies as a team for a 10-game winning streak that is the longest for a defending champion since 1971. But maybe the guy we should be giving a little more love to is Joe Blanton.
After a May 21 outing in Cincinnati, Blanton was 2-3 with a 7.11. Since then, in 10 starts, he's gone 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA, and struck out 59 while walking only 16 in 66 innings. That includes last night when he gave up one run in 7 innings in a no-decision.
The strikeouts have certainly helped Blanton's production. His 7.8 K/9 is up from 5.1 last year, and he's walking fewer batters (2.7 BB/9 vs 3.0 last year). And according to fangraphs.com, while his average fastball is still clocking at about 89 mph, he's throwing slightly more fastballs and sliders as he ignores his curve more than usual (throws it 4% less often than in 2008).
Blanton's also still a relatively young guy at 29 in only his 5th full season, so it could be that he's just starting to put it all together. Not that his recent run will stop the front office from going after Roy Halladay, though.
By the way, Bill James, in a new and interesting stat, has the Phillies' current temperature at 120 degrees. And honestly, that seems like it might be a bit low.