Saturday, October 3, 2009

Two games to go with plenty to worry about

The Phillies clinched their third consecutive NL East title on Wednesday and Phillies' fans across the Delaware Valley were left in a state of jubilation once again. But, being the worriers that we are, concerns are ubiquitous across Phillies' Nation.

Charlie Manuel, while trying to get his players some rest, tinkered with the lineup the last two nights to give certain players the night off. The results have not been good. The offense was not competitive while Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton went on to pitch sub-par games. There's not much time left to figure out the pitching situation on this team. Pedro Martinez didn't pitch well in his final regular season tuneup, but will likely will the fourth rotation spot anyway because with J.C. Romero lost for the season, J.A. Happ will likely been the trusted lefty out of the 'pen.

Who is the ace of the staff? Just two months ago the obvious answer was Lee, but he's been struggling almost every time he takes the mound. Cole Hamels, who pitches today, has been much better of late but would be pitching on just three days of rest if he were to take the mound for game one of the NLDS. The rotation will likely be Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Pedro. A month ago, that seemed like a damn strong rotation. Now, no one is sure what those guys are capable of this postseason.

The team has not announced a pitcher for tomorrow's season finale against Josh Johnson and the Marlins. It will likely be either Kyle Kendrick or someone who won't even be on the playoff roster.

Unless Charlie plugs all the starters back in there today, they will take the field in game one without playing a competitive game as a team in a week. The extra rest could be detrimental to the team if they come out lackadaisical in the playoffs.

The Colorado Rockies are on fire and stand just one game behind the Dodgers. While LA is overall a more talented team, the Rockies are red hot and maybe the Dodgers would be a better first round match-up for the Phils. If Colorado takes the next two from the Dodgers, the Rockies would win the NL West and the Dodgers would take the wild card. The records are so close between the Phils, Dodgers, Rox and Cardinals that the Phillies could finish anywhere from first through third. It will be interesting to see how these last two days play out and where the Phils will finish in the National League.

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