Busy news day here. . .
We'll run things down in order of importance:
1) The Phillies have not announced their postseason roster yet, but they have informed a trio of players that they are not on the roster: Righthanders Tyler Walker and Clay Condrey, both of whom were question marks, are not on. Also, utility man Eric Bruntlett, who scored the game-winning run in the World Series last year, was informed that he is not on the squad. Veteran utility man Miguel Cairo is on the squad, along with lefthander Antonio Bastardo. That left one open spot, which will be filled by righthander Kyle Kendrick.
Your roster, as of today:
Regulars: Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Raul Ibanez
Bench: LH Matt Stairs, LH Greg Dobbs, LH/C Paul Bako, RH Miguel Cairo, RH Ben Francisco
Rotation: Game 1 - Cliff Lee, Game 2 - Cole Hamels, Game 3 - TBA
Bullpen: LHPs - J.A. Happ, Antonio Bastardo, Scott Eyre; RHPs - Pedro Martinez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Kyle Kendrick, Chad Durbin, Pedro Martinez
2) Cliff Lee will be your Game 1 starter against Ubaldo Jimenez. Cole Hamels will be your Game 2 starter against Aaron Cook. After that, there is lots of uncertainty. Jason Hammel will start Game 3. The Phillies, however, have not announced a Game 3 starter. Charlie Manuel said there is a "big chance" J.A. Happ starts at some point this series. But he also said that Happ and Joe Blanton will be available out of the bullpen in Games 1 and 2. As for Pedro Martinez, there is even more mystery. Manuel did not say that Martinez would be available to pitch out of the bullpen. He did say Martinez would throw some side sessions.
3) Eric Bruntlett, who scored the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series last season, was left off the roster. This comes as a surprise, since the Phillies have always valued Bruntlett's defensive versatility. With Francisco and Cairo, they apparently felt he was not worth keeping just for defensive purposes. Righthander Clay Condrey is the other member of last year's team who is not on the roster.
4) Jamie Moyer had surgery to repair three torn tendons on Friday. He was walking around the stadium today. The initial prognosis is that he has a good chance to be ready for spring training.
5) Lefthander J.C. Romero will have elbow surgery on Thursday. But general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the surgery is not Tommy John surgery, and that the initial recovery time is expected to be three to four months, which leaves a good chance that he will be ready by spring training. However, Amaro did say that there is a possibility that once doctors cut into Romero's elbow, they could discover further damage that would prolong the recovery. At this point, though, the surgery is expected to repair his flexor tendon, not his UCL, which is the ligament that is replaced in Tommy John surgery.
6) Some Rockies news of interest to the Phillies: Lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who strained his groin in his last start, will not be available to pitch in the NLDS.
Spahn and Sain and pray for rain, the old saying went in regards to the Boston Braves rotation in the late-1940's. The Phillies will have a similar 1-2 punch atop their rotation to start the NLCS as manager Charlie Manuel announced today that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 followed by Cole Hamels in Game 2. After that, though, nothing is set. Manuel said that lefthander J.A. Happ and righthander Joe Blanton will be available to pitch out of the bullpen in Games 1 and 2. The move is an indication that the Phillies plan on keeping 11 pitchers, the only lefty being veteran Scott Eyre, who has been hampered by an elbow injury. Manuel said he planned on announcing his roster after today's work-out, when he will be able to talk to the players who have been left off the roster.
For sure, this is an unconventional approach. Manuel said there was a big indication that Happ would start at some point this series. If he is required to pitch in the back end of Game 1, he could pitch Game 4 on three days rest. Same goes for Blanton. It sounds as if Pedro Martinez will be at the ready to start.
Confusing? Absolutely. But with an injury-riddled bullpen, the Phillies obviously feel that it is necessary.
Now, why Lee over Hamels?
Easy. Lee will be on five days rest for Game 1. Hamels will be on four days rest for Game 2. In reality, Game 1 and Game 2 are of equal importance, and both pitchers will be on normal rest for Game 5.
Lee joined the Phillies in a trade deadline deal with Cleveland. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner finished 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies and now makes his postseason debut.
Lee has faced the Rockies once in a his career, pitching seven innings and allowing one run with nine strikeouts in a Phillies win in early August.
Hamels allowed seven runs in his only outing against Colorado, but it came in his first start of the season, when his fastball sat in the mid-80's.