“This was one of those games that needed to be dissected beyond the box score to reveal the entire truth.
Joe Blanton, for example, got credit for a quality start during the Phillies’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field.
His pitching line said he worked seven innings, allowed five hits and three earned runs, and struck out eight. That looks good and represents marked improvement over his previous two outings this month, when he surrendered 18 hits and 10 earned runs in 112/3 innings.
Look closer, however, and you’ll see that Blanton surrendered a couple of leads in most frustrating fashion.
The second of those was provided by Ryan Howard’s third home run since the All-Star break, a two-run blast to center field off lefthander Ted Lilly that gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Blanton, as he has been apt to do this season, gave it right back in the bottom of the inning.
“It’s a little frustrating when [Howard] comes up with a big swing and gives us the lead and I give up two runs with two outs,” Blanton said. “At the same time, they hit all good pitches. It wasn’t like I made mistakes . . . so there was not a lot I could do about it.””