Best NL Record Would Benefit Phillies in NLDS

halladay hamels.jpgThe Phillies have a half-game lead over the Braves in the NL East and the best record in the league.

They obviously have plenty of incentive to win their fourth consecutive division title and finish with the best record in the league — and it has more to do that just having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Because of scheduling reasons, the top NL team this year has the option of playing an eight-day NLDS or a seven-day NLDS.

An eight-day NLDS would have a clear benefit to the Phillies.

If they play an eight-day NLDS, they would have to pitch only Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels — and none of them would have to pitch on short rest. If they played a seven-day NLDS, they would have to use a fourth starter (Joe Blanton) or pitch Halladay (or whomever starts Game 1) on short rest in Game 4.

Running Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt out there in a five-game series certainly is enticing for the Phillies.

“It obviously sets us up for success, but I think more excitement,” Hamels said. “It sets us up for excitement because we have guys that have the experience or ultimately some of the best pitchers in the game. I think that’s how you have to look at it. We obviously busted our tail to get there, but we have the guys to finish the series.

“That’s what makes it uncomfortable for the opposing team. To come in, not look at anybody and go, ‘We can probably get a couple runs out of this guy,’ or, ‘This guy we might as well just hang it up.’ That’s kind of what we have. When the postseason comes it’s about three guys that go. We definitely do have those good three guys and we have an unbelievably good fourth guy. But you do have to get there.”

Here’s a look at how an eight-day series differs from a seven-day series:

Eight-day NLDS

  • Wednesday, Game 1: Halladay
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday, Game 2: Hamels
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday, Game 3: Oswalt
  • Monday, Game 4: Halladay
  • Tuesday: OFF
  • Wednesday: Game 5: Hamels

Seven-day NLDS

  • Wednesday, Game 1: Halladay
  • Thursday, Game 2: Hamels
  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday, Game 3: Oswalt
  • Sunday, Game 4: Blanton or Halladay on short rest
  • Monday: OFF
  • Tuesday, Game : Halladay on extra rest or Hamels on normal rest

I put Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt in that order just because. They might not line up that way because of that final three-game series against the Braves at Turner Field. It might be Hamels in Game 1 and Halladay in Game 2, depending on how the rotation stacks up. It’s too early to tell, but you get the point. They only would need to pitch those three guys in an eight-day series, whatever the order is.

(Credit to Meech from The Fightins for bringing up this question today. Otherwise we’d be living in the dark.)


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!


It would be a definite advantage, but I don’t like that Hamels is having such a frank discussion about postseason possibilities. He should be talking about his next start.

The Phils could also end up with the 8 day NLDS if they are playing the team with the best record (presuming they would also choose the 8 day schedule). So as long as the Braves don’t end up with the best record, the Phils could finish with the wild card and still end up with a favorable rotation.

HA. In Atlanta, Jurrgens didn’t last as long as the NFL pre-game show. I particularly enjoyed looking at all the fans in Atlanta dressed as empty seats. What a pack of losers. Atlanta is the worst sports town in America. It’s a pleasure watching them choke up a lead.

muleman, I agree. I had heard about the low attendance but until I actually saw a Braves home game on ESPN, I didn’t realize how few fans attend games in Atlanta. They must all know each other on a first-name basis……..

muleman, I agree. I had heard about the low attendance but until I actually saw a Braves home game on ESPN, I didn’t realize how few fans attend games in Atlanta. They must all know each other on a first-name basis……..

erichh: It’s been like that down there forever. They’re 14th in average attendance this year, behind Milwaukee and Detroit, and barely ahead of Houston and Texas, even though they were in first place virtually all summer. It puts their fans’ comments in perspective, knowing that there are probably bigger crowds at local strip clubs or the Coca Cola Museum.

muleman, southerners don’t think like us northerns. We will never figure out why they don’t support their baseball teams like they do their football and basketball teams. They will never understand why we think they don’t support their teams whole-heartedly. It’s just regional culture shock…..I got that out here in LA 24/7 ;o(

Baseball has never really taken in the south due to short attention spans secondary to inbreeding

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