The Phillies didn’t need to win their LDS series against the Colorado Rockies in four games. However, for the sake of their NLCS starting rotation, it’s good that they did.
Cole Hamels who would have pitched a deciding Game 5 today now is available to pitch Game 1 of the championship series. A California native, Hamels loves pitching in Los Angeles and should thrive in the environment.
Cliff Lee, who has posted a 1.10 ERA in two impressive performances against the Rockies, will look to add to his NLCS MVP credentials when he starts Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park.
Game 2 and 4 starters are not set in stone with JA Happ, Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez all in the mix to start those games.
The best guess is that Uncle Charlie hands the ball to Blanton and Martinez, saving Happ for bullpen action if needed.
Manuel showed that he has no issue using both Blanton and Happ out of the pen. Happ did get the Game 3 start on Sunday night, but lasted just bthre einnings before giving way to Blanton. While weather conditions were not ideal for gripping the ball, the fact is Happ didn’t exactly dazzle in his first postseason start.
Add to that the fact that the Phillies likely don’t want to start three lefties against the Dodgers in their first three games, and Blanton likely gets the start on Friday afternoon. Blanton was a key contributor to last year’s World Series title, and has pitched well since coming from Oakland in a deal last season. He deserves to be the starting pitcher.
The Game 4 starter depends on how much work Happ gets in relief. Due to a depleted bullpen, he will likely pitch at least a few innings.
As a result, look for Pedro to ultimately start Game 4 of the series. He is well rested, and has shown he can still thrive in a playoff-like atmosphere.