Manuel Drops Hints about the Bullpen
If there are just 13 position players they will be catchers Carlos Ruiz and Paul Bako; infielders Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and Eric Bruntlett; and outfielders Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Matt Stairs.
The pitching staff is not nearly as easy to call, but Charlie Manuel dropped a few hints today.
Expect left-handers Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and right-hander Joe Blanton to be in the rotation. No surprise there. The fourth starter will be left-hander J.A. Happ or right-hander Pedro Martinez. Happ is 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA, while Martinez is 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Happ deserves to start, but the Phillies are short in the bullpen with injuries to left-handers J.C. Romero and Jamie Moyer and right-hander Chan Ho Park. Manuel said they could use Happ in the bullpen early in the NLDS, but still have him start if he only throws an inning in those first couple games.
“I’m not saying we’re going to do that, but that does enter my mind,” Manuel said.
That would leave 10 pitchers competing for seven remaining bullpen spots: Antonio Bastardo, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Sergio Escalona, Scott Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers and Tyler Walker. Bastardo got recalled today, and he’s not here for the heck of it. He could make a good enough impression today or tomorrow to work his way onto the postseason roster, despite not pitching since June 25. (That shows just how shaky the bullpen is.)
Eyre and Myers both have battled injuries this month, but Manuel sounded like if they finish the season healthy they will be on the postseason roster.
“I think Scott Eyre definitely could pitch on lefties,” Manuel said. “I think Brett Myers has all the experience in the world. If he can go, I think he can help us in the bullpen because he’s done that.”
Is the closer Madson or Lidge?
“You’ve got Madson and you’ve got Brad,” Manuel said. “I’ve heard people talk. I’ve heard people say instead of using Brad use somebody else. But who else out there would you want on the mound if you were going to win or lose a game? Who would you want? Take your pick. I always get back to Lidge. I’ve got Madson and Lidge in there. Madson probably would be the guy I would go to today to win the game. But there’s going to come a point where Lidge is going to have to pitch and do the job.”
The Phillies have clinched home-field advantage in the NLDS with St. Louis losing today to the Brewers.