Joe Blanton making run at embarrassing pitching triple crown

Joe Blanton AngelsJoe Blanton has been the worst pitcher in baseball this season, and that’s not an exaggeration. Whether he’s been starting or relieving for the Los Angeles Angels, his results have been equally awful. In fact, he’s been so bad that he could win the pitching triple crown … in all the wrong categories.

Blanton currently leads all MLB pitchers with the highest ERA, is tied for the most losses, and he entered Wednesday with the most home runs allowed.

Blanton is sporting a 6.12 ERA, which places him higher than Edinson Volquez, who is the next worse at 5.72.

Blanton is 2-14, and his 14 losses tie him with Houston Astros pitcher Lucas Harrell, who is 6-14.

Blanton has allowed 29 home runs, which is second to Oakland A’s starter A.J. Griffin, who allowed two on Wednesday to give him 30 for the season.

Blanton also has the worst WAR among all MLB pitchers at -2. That means he’s cost the Angels two more losses than the standard minor league pitcher. If you value WAR, then that means Blanton has been the least valuable pitcher in baseball.

What’s truly amazing about Blanton’s pursuit of the crown is that he’s still leading the race despite being moved to the bullpen, where he has fewer opportunities to stink. After being moved to the pen in late July, Blanton had three promising outings where he combined for six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. But then he went back to being terrible.

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Joe Blanton may have had funny substance on hat, still got rocked

Joe Blanton hat Angels

The only thing worse than being the worst pitcher in baseball is using an illegal substance and still being the worst pitcher in baseball.

Now I’m not accusing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Joe Blanton of cheating, but the guy had a visible dark spot on the brim of his hat during his appearance against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. Blanton has been seen with the spot on his hat in many previous starts, and for all I know this is the same hat he’s been using for a while. But when the camera showed him with his head turned downward Tuesday, the spot was extremely pronounced. It looked like pine tar, which many pitchers illegally use to get a good grip on the ball.

This isn’t the first time the subject of Blanton’s hat has come up. When he was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon asked for Blanton’s hat to be checked because he suspected Blanton had pine tar on the brim.

“We did notice,” Maddon said after Game 4. “It was rather dark. I did bring it to [the umpires'] attention. Quite frankly, I did. I asked them to watch it and be vigilant about it. Nothing happened, obviously, but I was concerned about that early on.”

Blanton frequently grabs his hat after pitches, which could be attributed to a nervous tick or habit rather than cheating. Someone else noticed the spot on Blanton’s hat last year when he was pitching for the Phillies:

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Joe Blanton on Home Run: ‘I Just Closed My Eyes and Swung Hard’

Something about unexpected home runs in the playoffs has yielded some fantastic quotes lately. We had Matt Stairs admit all he does is swing for the fences. Now we have Joe Blanton, the Phillies Game 4 starting pitcher, say the home run he hit in the 5th off Edwin Jackson was just pure luck.

“I just close my eyes and swing hard in case I make contact,” said Blanton. “That’s really the only thing I can say.”

Blanton had one hit in 16 at-bats since the Phillies acquired him on July 17 for three minor leaguers. The uh, slump, dropped him to 2-for-26 (.077) in his career. He raised his career average to .103 last night and – while it’s mildly amusing to point out the puny numbers – the fact is Blanton has more hits this World Series than Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria.

Honestly, between Blanton in Game 4 and Brett Myers against the Dodgers in Game 2, what is up with the Philly pitchers creaming the ball? And how brutal is that for the Rays when Joe Blanton has out-hit their number three and four hitters for the series? I may be wrong here, but just like Ryan Howard getting hot, the Rays big hitters may be poised for a break out. Unfortunately they’ll have to face Cole Hamels to get it done.