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Blanton tabbed to start Game 4 in Philly

Blanton tabbed to start Game 4 in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- This is no big deal to Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton.

It isn't like he hasn't started before. He is a starter. He started 31 games this season, 162 games in his career and went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three postseason starts last year. But Blanton has been working out of the bullpen this postseason, which officially changed on Saturday when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced Blanton will start Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.

Blanton will face Dodgers left-hander Randy Wolf.

"I'm ready to do my job, whatever they ask me to do," Blanton said. "If they ask me, I'm ready. I'll do whatever."

Blanton is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. He allowed one run and five hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 6. He allowed three runs in five innings last year in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.

"I liked the fact we could keep J.A. [Happ] in the bullpen, especially on some left-handed hitters, but at the same time Joe has pitched pretty good against the Dodgers," Manuel said. "And yesterday I think Pedro Martinez showed if you can change speeds and things like that and mix in your fastball and locate good, that you can have success against them. And I think Blanton, not only is he a very aggressive pitcher, but he's that type of pitcher. I think that he's a good fit."

NL Championship Series
Gm. 1 PHI 8, LAD 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 2 LAD 2, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 PHI 11, LAD 0 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 PHI 5, LAD 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 10, LAD 4 Wrap Video

Manuel likes the fact he has had flexibility in his rotation this postseason. He started Happ in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Colorado Rockies because Happ matched up better against a Rockies lineup with strong left-handed hitters.

"I felt like that's the best starting pitching that we've had since I've been here," Manuel said. "I've liked our starting pitching, especially the second half of the season. And there are some things that we can do, because of the short series and everything, the five-game series and also a seven-game series there are things we can do.

"We've got three off-days in this series, and there are things that we can do to move our rotation around and also use some of our starters in the bullpen."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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