It’s been a long 3 days, but baseball is finally back.
The Phillies are set to begin the rematch of last year’s NLCS tonight against the Dodgers, only this time, it starts in LA. That just makes it better for the Fightins, because now they’ll be able to win the series at home.
Cole Hamels has had a full week off with no travel so he should be fully rested and ready to go tonight. He needs to do better than his performance last week against the Rockies, when he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings. That’s most likely not going to get it done against LA.
As usual, Charlie Manuel is playing his cards close to his chest. The only thing official about the pitching rotation is that Cole Hamels gets the start in Game 1 tonight. There are lots of rumors swirling that Pedro Martinez will get the start in Game 2. Since he didn’t pitch at all in the NLDS, he should be well rested and ready to go. He has a 6-2 postseason record with plenty of experience, so I’m sure he’d be able to handle himself mentally. Physically being able to get it done may be another story.
Charlie also said that J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton will be available out of the bullpen for Games 1 and 2, so that just leads even more towards Pedro getting the nod for Game 2.
Reports also came out that Brett Myers was going to be left off the NLCS roster, along with Kyle Kendrick, to bring back Chan Ho Park and Eric Bruntlett. Rosters are due today, so we’ll find out soon enough.
Myers simply came back too early from hip surgery. He doesn’t have the stuff to get the job done in the playoffs. Park has been a very reliable reliever this year and will help the team more than Myers will. Kendrick didn’t see the field in the first series and wasn’t likely to in this one either. Bringing in another bench player like Bruntlett just gives Manuel even more options for late game moves. Bruntlett can play anywhere, so that’s a valuable asset to have on the bench.
Most of the major media pundits are calling for a Dodgers-Yankees World Series. “Torre vs. his old team!” “NY vs. LA!” Whatever. Let them think what they want. There is even one reporter out there saying a NY-LA World Series would “clean up the game.” Seriously? How about A-Rod and Pregnant Manny? Remember them?
The Phillies have more than enough weapons to get through to the World Series. If they just keep playing all 27 outs like they have been all season, they’ll have a very good chance of being able to defend their World Championship of Baseball.