Manuel: Blanton or Martinez could start Game 3

Joe Blanton pitches in relief in the 6th inning of Game 2. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer )

After the Phillies' 5-4 loss in Game 2 of the NLDS to the Rockies today, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked primarily about his pitching strategy, which included using two starting pitchers in relief roles.

Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ pitched in relief after 2008 hero Cole Hamels was removed in the fifth inning. Hamels soon left Citizens Bank Park with his wife, who had gone into labor.

Manuel said Blanton or Pedro Martinez might start the next game in Denver on Saturday.

Blanton pitched in relief today (19 pitches) and Manuel asked if the righthander could be ready for Game 3.

"Blanton could pitch Saturday," Manuel said. "We’ll definitely talk about that on the plane ride and we’ll announce that tomorrow. Blanton is ready to pitch. He’ll definitely be ready to pitch on Saturday if that’s what we choose to do."

Manuel said Pedro Martinez, who has not pitched in the series, also could start on Saturday. "Pedro is definitely in the mix to pitch Saturday," Manuel said. "I’d say right now it is between Blanton and Pedro."

Happ, another possible Game 3 starter, was hit by a line drive off the bat of Seth Smith. "He was hit below his knee and he got hit pretty good," Manuel said. "When he was landing [in the pitching motion], he was having a hard time staying on his feet. I think he’ll be OK, though. He’ll get treatment and he’ll be OK."

X-rays were negative and it was diagnosed as a bruise.

"I don’t anticipate it being much of an issue," Happ said. "We have the rest of today and tomorrow, trying to work on it. You have pitch through stuff. This is not a big deal." He said he felt alright but his leg was tight.

Lost in all of the discussion was Hamels. Manuel was asked whether Heidi Hamels' impending delivery might have affected her husband's performance. "It could have," Manuel said. "I was taking him out of the game, we had a guy on and I wanted to hit for him. Frank Coppenbarger [director of team travel and clubhouse services] came into the dugout and said his wife went into labor.

"I didn't think Hamels pitched too bad. In the first inning, they took advantage of a break, especially of the ball that [Todd] Helton chopped down the first-base line. His stuff was good. He threw some close pitches, around the plate. I thought his command could have been better."