Monday, September 28, 2009

Plenty to watch with one week to play

It's hard to believe there's only one week left in the regular season. The Phillies have all but wrapped up their third consecutive NL East title, but there's still plenty to look for in this final week.

Getting the bullpen healthy and on track for the postseason is priority number one. Charlie Manuel mentioned that Brett Myers is his number one back-up plan as postseason closer, should he steer away from closer by committee. Getting Myers, J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre among other players healthy is crucial to their success in the playoffs. Players should know their role come playoff time, and having an established closer is important. The ninth inning shouldn't belong to four or five different guys. Each player has enough stress on him in the playoffs and should be able to just focus on his individual role. When each player does his job, as they did last season, it bodes well for the team.

It should also be interesting as to who the Phillies face in the NLDS. While the Phillies could pass the Dodgers for the top seed in the National League, it's more likely that LA will capture that title. If they do, it will be between the Phillies and Cardinals, who are within a half game of each other, to fill out the second and third seeds. If the Phillies take the top spot or the second spot, they will face the Colorado Rockies for the second time in three seasons. If the Phillies finish third, they will be in Los Angeles for game one of the NLDS against the Dodgers.

All eyes will be on Pedro Martinez is he makes his scheduled start this week. It's likely that if Pedro pitches and does well, he will pitch as the fourth and final starter in the rotation. Hopefully if J.A. Happ is sent to the bullpen, he is used in key spots late in games rather than being used as a long reliever. Happ has proven his value and could be a valuable lefty out of the 'pen in the seventh, eighth or maybe even ninth inning.

This week's final tuneup will be interesting as the Phils get ready for yet another wild postseason.

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