When the 2009 playoffs began four of eight teams had a Kentucky native on the roster, two more had one on the 40-man, but not active. Now with the championship series slated to start tonight we have only one team left with a Kentucky native. Morehead alum Jon Rauch and the Twins were swept by the Yankees, Louisville-native Paul Byrd and the Red Sox were swept by the Angels, while Fort Campbell-native Aaron Cook and the Rockies fell in four games to the Phillies. Louisville-native Todd Wellemeyer didn’t make the Cardinals’ NLDS roster, but he watch his team lose three straight to the Dodgers.
So only one remains. Joe Blanton, the Franklin-Simpson High School and UK alum, earned his first world series ring in 2008, but now he’s the only Kentucky chance to win the 2009 title. Blanton appeared in the Phillies bullpen in the NLDS despite being Philadelphia’s most consistent starting pitcher in the regular season. Manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t named his starting pitchers past game one, but Blanton seems in line to make a start in the NLCS, maybe even in game two. Paul Lawrence Dunbar graduate A.J. Ellis isn’t on the Dodgers’ postseason roster, but did appear with the team in September, so he’s probably in line for a ring if the Dodgers win.
So there you have it. If you’re rooting for Kentucky this postseason, you should probably buy a Phillies shirt.