It's Blanton, not Lee, in Game 4

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The Phillies are down 2-1 with CC
Sabathia awaiting them in Game 4 on Sunday night. Sounds pretty
ominous, right? Not if you’re Charlie Manuel. He still plans on
sticking with Joe Blanton.




The Yankees are no-doubt licking
their chops to face Blanton, who hasn’t appeared in a game since
October 19. Here’s just a sampling of a few Yankees’ past success against Blanton:




Derek Jeter: 4-for-12 (.333) with one walk, one home run and three RBI

Alex Rodriguez: 4-for-7 (.571) with three walks, two home runs and five RBI

Mark Teixeira: 9-for-27 (.333) with one home run, three home runs and seven RBI



The big question this morning is
“Why not Lee?” He has a 0.54 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 30/3 K/BB ratio in four
starts this postseason, including a masterful performance in Game 1.




While it’s true that Lee has never
started on three day’s rest, the fallout of Manuel’s decision is
wide-reaching. Even if the Phillies win Game 5 with Lee on the hill,
they will be forced to start Pedro Martinez in Game 6 and most likely
Cole Hamels in a possible Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. After Hamels’
comments following Saturday’s loss, that can’t be encouraging for
Phillies fans. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi has his ace lined up for a
possible Game 7, if it gets that far.




Giving Lee three starts give the Phillies their best — and perhaps only — chance to win.

Report: Yankees acquire James Paxton from the Mariners

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Yankees have acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners. Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that the Mariners will be receiving three prospects from the Yankees: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a good return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worry about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field. The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.