A slight, but interesting, rotation shift

Even before Kyle Kendrick allowed six runs in 1.2 innings Wednesday night in a 14-7 win over the Nationals, the Phillies made a barely-perceptible, yet highly-interesting shift in their rotation that gives them plenty of flexibility in the coming week. And while manager Charlie Manuel brushed off a question about Kendrick's future in the rotation, they could delay his next start until a week from Saturday in Arizona, by which point veteran righthander Joe Blanton could be ready to be activated from the disabled list.

Kendrick's fifth day falls on Monday, which happens to be an off day for the Phillies. They could elect to skip Kendrick in the rotation rather than start him Tuesday against the Braves, who feature a pair of ferocious left-handed sluggers in Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.

Additionally, the Phillies have flip-flopped Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer in the rotation, starting Halladay Friday on normal rest and Moyer Saturday on six days rest. This ensures that Halladay will face the Braves even if they do not skip Kendrick, and it gives them the option of lining up Halladay, Hamels and J.A. Happ for starts against the Braves, and scheduling Moyer and Kendrick's next starts for Friday and Saturday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. To do so, they would have to push Moyer back one day further to Sunday and start Hamels on Saturday on normal rest. That would then leave Happ in line to start against the Braves on Tuesday on normal rest, Halladay to start Wednesday on normal rest, and Hamels to start Thursday on normal rest.

Either Moyer or Kendrick would start Friday, April 24 against the Diamondbacks, unless Blanton is ready to be activated from the disabled list, which is possible. On that day, Blanton would be three-and-a-half weeks removed from his oblique strain. His initial prognosis called for a three-to-six week recovery. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that Blanton's rehab is going very well, and that he could throw a bullpen session on Friday.

It is still unlikely that Blanton will be ready by next weekend, since the Phillies would probably want him to make at least one rehab appearance. Still, the possibility is there.

Rotation as it stands now:

  1. 4/14 v. WSN - Kendrick
  2. 4/15 v. WSN - Happ
  3. 4/16 v. FLA - Halladay
  4. 4/17 v. FLA - Moyer
  5. 4/18 v. FLA - Hamels
  6. 4/19 - OFF
  7. 4/20 v. ATL - Kendrick
  8. 4/21 v. ATL - Happ
  9. 4/22 v. ATL - Halladay
  10. 4/23 @ ARI - Moyer
  11. 4/24 @ ARI - Hamels
  12. 4/25 @ ARI - Kendrick

Potential rotation:

  1. 4/14 v. WSN - Kendrick
  2. 4/15 v. WSN - Happ
  3. 4/16 v. FLA - Halladay
  4. 4/17 v. FLA - Hamels (last pitched 4/12)
  5. 4/18 v. FLA - Moyer (last pitched 4/10)
  6. 4/19 v. OFF - [Kendrick]
  7. 4/20 @ ATL - Happ (normal rest)
  8. 4/21 @ ATL - Halladay (normal rest)
  9. 4/22 @ ATL - Hamels (normal rest)
  10. 4/23 @ ARI - Kendrick
  11. 4/24 @ ARI - Moyer
  12. 4/25 @ ARI - Happ

This would also give the Phillies the ability to have Halladay's next six starts come against the Mets, NL contenders San Francisco, St. Louis, Colorado and Milwaukee, and Boston.