Who needs Roy when you have Joe Blanton?

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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.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.