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10/09/09 7:11 PM EST

Blanton puts his arm around the team

Bypassed for Game 3, maybe 4, winning is his first choice

DENVER -- Joe Blanton seems a little surprised at all the attention.

Phillies at a glance
2009 record: 93-69
2008 record: 92-70
NL East champs
NLCS matchup:
Phillies at Dodgers
Postseason tix: Information

Madson: Back in business
Werth: Heart of the order
Rollins: Awaiting breakout
Focus: One game at a time
Manuel: Mix & match
Howard: Ready for lefties
Stairs: Shot reverberates
Manuel: New rules for 'pen
Blanton: Arm around team
Pedro: Return to spotlight
Ibanez: Eyes on prize
Rollins: '07 irrelevant
Lidge: Still an option
Lidge: Killer cutter
Roster: Mulling options
Ibanez: Perfect fit
Hamels: Path of the pros
Amaro: Bold decisions
Pedro: Elated to play part
Rollins: No more predictions
Hamels: Back in business
Pitching: Staff in flux
Manuel: Keeps 'em focused
Hamels: Aims for dominance
Lineup: Imperfect but solid
Lee: Ready for playoff debut
Howard: The evolution
Rollins: Excelling on defense
Rotation: Not just big two
Manuel: Steady as she goes
Rollins: Eyes on '09 drama
Howard: The 'Big Piece'
Lee: Lifting Phils' hopes

It is understandable. But as the Phillies prepare to play the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Coors Field, Blanton still finds himself out of the rotation and in the bullpen.

People want to know how Blanton is handling his new role and what he thinks of it.

"As long as we win, I don't care," he said Friday.

Blanton went 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 31 starts this season, and 10-5 with a 3.16 ERA from May 26 through the end of the season. His ERA in that 23-start span ranked 17th out of 83 pitchers in baseball. But Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have serious concerns about their bullpen, so they figure they could improve their chances of winning in the late innings with Blanton in the back of the bullpen.

Blanton is reserved, but Dubee has talked in the past about his competitiveness on the mound. His durability and competitiveness are traits that they feel will make him successful in the bullpen in the postseason.

"We feel like Joe Blanton's a horse," Manuel said. "Joe Blanton, he can do a lot of different things for us. He's a very durable guy, and he's a tough guy who can pitch a lot."

Blanton threw 19 pitches to five batters in relief in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Rockies in Game 2, but he said he is ready to pitch Sunday if needed.

"It doesn't matter," he said, asked if he would be disappointed not to start. "We've got five capable pitchers to throw. I think any of us can throw as well as the other on any given day. The postseason is a little different. It's about winning. It's about winning the regular season, too, but in the postseason ... I think we've got 10 more wins left to achieve our goal for the year."

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