CHICAGO - After their attempt to complete a sweep in Wrigley, which would finish off a positive first road trip to start the season, the Phillies will board a chartered plan bound for Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.
But they will not be playing in their previously scheduled home opener at Citizens Bank Park tomorrow.
Prior to Sunday’s game in Chicago, the Phillies announced that Monday’s home opener has been postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday.
The decision was made “due to a weather forecast for considerable rain all Monday afternoon,” the team said in a press release. The season’s first game at Citizens Bank Park, originally on tap for 3:05 p.m. on Monday, will now take place on 4:05 p.m. on Tuesday.
All tickets for the originally scheduled game will be honored for the new game day and time; gates will open at 1:35 p.m. and the game will air on NBC-10.
The adjusted schedule adds a wrinkle to the Phillies pitching plans.
Initially, the Phillies were not going to need a fifth starter in their rotation on Sunday, April 13. But following today’s game swap, the Phillies will now need another starting pitcher for Saturday’s game against the Miami Marlins.
David Buchanan was the early favorite to jump into that spot as the Phillies fifth starter after an impressive spring. Buchanan threw six shutout innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday.
But since Buchanan’s next start at Lehigh is scheduled for Tuesday, he would have to pitch on short rest if he pitches Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. It’s possible the Phillies could scale back Buchanan’s pitch count on Tuesday in an effort to have him better prepared for Saturday.
Jonathan Pettibone, who endured shoulder pain at the start of spring training, is another option. Pettibone started for Lehigh Valley today (at the time this was written, he had given up three runs on four hits and a walk in his first four innings today).
The Phillies need a fifth starter because Cole Hamels entered camp behind schedule after dealing with biceps tendinitis this offseason. But Hamels will likely join the rotation before the end of the month.
Hamels pitched four innings at Class-A Clearwater this afternoon in the first start of his official rehab assignment. He allowed two runs on three hits, including two solo home runs to Toronto prospect Dwight Smith Jr., while striking out four.
Whoever is tabbed as the fifth starter will likely make only three starts before Hamels rejoins the rotation.