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10/12/08 6:39 PM ET

A pregame interview with Joe Blanton

Philles Game 4 starter talks about the mindset of pitching

It's obviously been a couple very unfortunate incidents happen for members of the Phillies this week. How is that affecting the team, if at all?

JOE BLANTON: I think it's one of those things you really grieve for the person off the field. But at the same time, it's almost like baseball is that getaway. You have that nine-inning period where you really get to break away from everything and focus on one thing. And just through personal experience, I know it can almost be a getaway, and you almost put extra focus into the game.

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This is a two-parter. You said from personal experience. If you could recount, apparently there was something you went through that you had to get through and deal with while playing. And also, on a much different note, can you talk about how being aggressive is so important for you and the way you pitch?

JOE BLANTON: Yeah, personal experience, I had a family, a similar kind of thing. It wasn't on this scale, it wasn't in the playoffs or anything. But it was back when I was in the Minor Leagues, but it was something you think about all day.

It's on your mind but you really have, like I said, that period where it's almost like a getaway from reality where that period that that's the one period of the day you can get away and focus on something. It's almost like there's so much focus goes into it because you don't really think about the negatives going on that it almost puts you in a different zone.

Can you talk about being aggressive, how it helps you?

JOE BLANTON: I think just for any pitcher being aggressive is helpful. Attacking the zone is always a good thing. Keeps your pitch count down. It allows you to work ahead in the counts, which is any time you're facing a good team, if you fall behind you're going to be in a lot of trouble. So that's a very helpful thing.

Joe, almost every player who has been traded, especially midseason, says there's a period when they first get to their team where they almost feel like they have to prove to the team that acquired them that they made a good deal. Did you have that feeling when you went out the first couple of times and can you remember one point or one start where you thought to yourself, 'Okay,' you didn't think about it, and you were just, 'Okay, I'm a Philly now?'

JOE BLANTON: I guess you're right. I guess every player feels that a little bit. I guess to one degree or another. My first start was pretty big. As far as the Mets/Phillies go, it's a big rivalry and that was my first start against the Mets in Shea Stadium. It got magnified really quick. And I think after that it was almost just kind of downhill, because it was such a rivalry, everything kind of just flowed into place.

The Dodgers are just going with a three-man rotation for this entire series. Do you think about that at all that the Phillies are putting you out there and they have enough confidence in you to go with a fourth starter?

JOE BLANTON: I just think that, you know, it's nice to have confidence and that they're going to put me out there. But I also think it just shows the depth of our team a little bit I would like to think, and that, A, and B, it gives your Game 1 starter that extra day of rest, which is always helpful, especially when he's packed on as many innings as Cole [Hamels] has this year. I think Cole pitched about 230 in the regular season. That extra day probably really comes in handy this time of year.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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