March Madness betting players know that the unsung heroes can make or break a Tournament, and there is a similar situation in Philadelphia in Major League Baseball. With all the discussion about their rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, some may forget about Joe Blanton in the Phillies’ rotation. He’ll be out to show that he deserves a place in the rotation when the Phillies host the rival New York Mets on Wednesday in the second of a three-game series.
The Mets will go with Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 10.38), who struggled on Opening Day in a 6-2 loss in Florida. He lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on four hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts, and the Marlins took him deep once. The Mets need Pelfrey to find his form as their rotation isn’t that great, and we’re not sure if Johan Santana will be back anytime soon. The 27-year-old righthander is 6-4 in 13 career starts against the Phillies, but he has an ERA of 4.52, and in five starts at Citizens Bank Park he is 1-2 with an ERA of 8.17, which doesn’t bode well for New York’s MLB betting odds.
Blanton (9-6, 4.82 in 2010) will be making his 2011 debut, and you have to wonder what his mindstate is. He’s obviously the overlooked pitcher in such a stacked rotation, and he was reportedly on the trading block all winter, even after the Phillies picked up Lee off the free-agent market. He could still be available given the right offer, but Blanton probably wants to quiet his critics, so this is a big season for the 30-year-old. Blanton is 3-1 in seven starts against the Mets with a 2.64 ERA, and he was 5-2 at home in 15 starts in 2010 with a 4.26 ERA.
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