Monday, May 3, 2010

Good Phillies vibes continue: Blanton activated and will start Monday

We're only 24 games into the 2010 season but it already feels like the Phillies have ridden quite a rollercoaster ride. First, there was the excitement of the 7 wins in the first 8 games. Then, there was the lull that saw the injuries pile up along with the losses. Now, after crushing the Mets in back to back games, the Phillies are back atop the NL East and everything seems pointed in the right direction.

Adding to those good feelings will be the return of Joe Blanton, who will make his season debut on Monday night against the Cardinals. Blanton, who had been on the disabled list with an oblique strain since spring training, will hopefully help solidify a Phillies rotation that has been, with the exception of Roy Halladay, more than a little shaky. At least with the return of Blanton we know the Phillies will be getting 6+ consistent innings every 5th day.

Blanton's return sends Antonio Bastardo back to the minors and it will push Nelson Figueroa back to the bullpen, an interesting move considering how bad Kyle Kendrick has been and how adequate Figueroa was in his one start. Perhaps the Phillies want to give Kendrick one last shot to prove himself or maybe they simply feel he won't be of any use to them coming out of the bullpen. Whatever the case, as soon as J.A. Happ comes off the disabled list, Kendrick will be packing his bags.

As frustrated as some fans were over the lull the Phillies went through in the end of April, it's important to remember all of the injuries played a major part in their mediocre play. It's difficult for any team, no matter how good, to lose their leadoff hitter, 2/5ths of their rotation and most of the back of their bullpen and still keep on winning games. It's a testament to just how good this team is that they are even in first place at all. Now that the cavalry is starting to come back, expect this Phillies team to really start rolling.

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