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Blanton's experience in stretch run valuable to LA

Blanton's experience in stretch run valuable to LA

Blanton's experience in stretch run valuable to LA
LOS ANGELES -- Four years ago, Joe Blanton was traded to a Philadelphia Phillies team on the brink of being a World Series contender in the middle of the season and helped lead it to the title.

In a similar situation, he's hopeful he has some magic left in him after being traded to the Dodgers on Friday.

"I was fortunate enough to get traded over there from Oakland in 2008 and won a World Series," Blanton said. "Hopefully history will repeat itself for me."

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Blanton was scheduled to start for the Phillies on Friday, and it was only about three hours before first pitch when he found out he had been traded.

"I walk in and start to get ready and [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] walks in and calls me over," he said. "As soon as he does that, I kind of figure something is up."

With ace Clayton Kershaw already scheduled to pitch Saturday, the veteran righty will get his first shot at helping the Dodgers reach the postseason when he makes his debut Sunday against the Cubs. Chris Capuano will still start Monday while Aaron Harang moves back in the rotation to Tuesday to get an extra day of rest.

Blanton, like Shane Victorino, brings playoff experience to a Los Angeles team that entered Saturday trailing the Giants by a half-game in the National League West. Blanton went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 regular-season starts for the Phillies in 2008 after the midseason trade, and Philadelphia went 9-4 in Blanton's starts en route to a World Series title.

This season has been a bit of a struggle at times for the veteran. He is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA, but six of his last eight outings have been quality starts.

Blanton was pleased with how he started the year but said he started rushing to the plate too quickly, which left his pitches up in the zone and ultimately led to too many home runs.

He said he has worked past that mechanical flaw and pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium should be welcoming in comparison to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

"This is a great place to pitch," he said. "Being in California, you get that cool air at night. The ball doesn't travel as well as it does in Philly."

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