It's Lee in Game 1



Thumbnail image for lee 0731 b.jpgCharlie Manuel
announced a few minutes ago that Cliff Lee would start Game 1 tomorrow afternoon in the National League Division Series.

Cole Hamels will pitch Game 2.

Games 3 and 4 are TBA, but Manuel said J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton will start the series in the bullpen.

It will be Lee’s first postseason appearance.

“I don’t think you win a Cy Young award if you can’t pitch in a big game,” Manuel said. “I’ve been around the game for a while. I’m sure he pitched big games somewhere along the line. And if he hasn’t, he damn sure has earned the right to pitch one.”

Manuel said they chose Lee over Hamels because Lee will be pitching on extra rest, which allows Hamels to pitch on his normal turn. Hamels pitched Saturday, so he would have been coming back on short rest — something he had never done in his career. He only threw 47 pitches Saturday, but the Phillies felt it didn’t make much sense to take him out of his routine.

“We’ve always kind of monitored him,” Manuel said of Hamels. “We want him as strong and as healthy as he can possibly be, and we want him in a strong frame of mind. That gives us either one of them to throw the fifth game, if there is one.”

Manuel said he would annouce his postseason roster after today’s workout, so check back later for that.

Here is more of what he had to say:

On Happ’s role: “Him and Blanton will be in the bullpen, especially those first two games. They definitely fit in our playoff picture, but I also can see them pitching late in the game. … Right now we’ve just got our pitching up to the first two games. We still have Pedro (Martinez), Blanton, Happ.”

On Happ not starting if he pitches in the bullpen: “Game 3 maybe, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to use him as a starter in this series. How we use him and how much and the importance of it … it’s very important that we win the first game, and Game 2 because even more important if we lose it. At the same time we plan on winning it. How much Happ pitches in between there can decide on what game he will pitch.”

On Martinez: “Pedro is the guy that can sit there and the rest can help him, but I think he also knows how to handle things with his experience. It’s very important that we keep him strong. When we pitch him he will be able to handle everything we roll at him.”

On his closer: “Hard to tell. I’ll answer that when we get there. Whoever see walking out there.”

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The Phillies have hired Dave Hollins as a pro scout. He had worked the previous four seasons with the Orioles.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

8 Comments

I like it. Blanton would be fine in the 8th or the 9th, and could potentially start at some point in the series if needed, depending on how many pitches he throws.

Looks like ‘all hands on deck’ for the first two games.

I think if Charlie can avoid using Happ in a difficult situation in the first two games, he would start game #3. But I have my doubts that he will be able to avoid that ‘Happenstance’.

Makes sense. Both Lee and hamels have had problems early when they have not been lights out. I can see Charlie yanking the starter after 2-3 innings if he is not having his best stuff and going to Happ or Blanton instead. In effct changing starters and not going to the Pen early.

I like how he’s keeping the cards close to his chest. Why give away the plans for free?

What ever Charlie determines Happ’s roll to be, it must be an impact one as opposed to merely getting one or two lefties out late in the game. That would be a waste of talent. Remember, this guy won as many games as a starter as ANY OTHER pitcher on the staff and has demonstrated the mindset to mentally handle any type of situation that he faces. He may be only 26 ( although that’s NOT THAT young except to Charlie Manual) but he pitches with the mental toughness of a 35 yo experienced MLB veteran hurler. Happ’s use just may be the key to this series.

I’m glad you guys can make sense out of Charlie’s comments, because as far as I can tell it’s jibberish. “it’s very important that we win the first game, and Game 2 because even more important if we lose it. At the same time we plan on winning it.”

What the Hell?

Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from the Phillies advising me to “Please plan on arriving as early as possible for all postseason games. All games are sold out with capacity crowds, so allow extra time to arrive at Citizens Bank Park.”
They had 73 sell-out’s this year. What’s the difference between these games and the others?

News: Eric Bruntlett is not on the NLDS roster.

Views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeTgx_pj6m8

phylan: I wish I could get that excited over nothing. He’ll still get a ring.

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