UPDATED, 6:!1 p.m. -- Changing it back. Manuel sounded pretty confident in Kendrick as a reliever after today's game.
UPDATED, 2:52 p.m. -- Made a change to the pitching projections after looking at some numbers. David Herndon has held righties to a .206/.241/.294 line with 24 strikeouts and three walks this season. If the postseason started tomorrow, I think Herndon would be on the roster and Kendrick would be out until the NLCS.
Well, we've got nine days to kill. Any ideas?
As evidenced by the lineup for Game 1 of today's doubleheader against the Nationals -- Victorino, Valdez, Mayberry, Pence, Francisco, Kratz, Orr, Martinez, Kendrick -- the final nine days of the regular season are officially meaningless for the Phillies. They locked up homefield advantage throughout the postseason last night, courtesy of a Brewers loss that assured them a tie for the best record in the NL (the Phillies own the tiebreaker).
Which leaves us with nine days to pore through every postseason angle. It's going to be great, like a baker's Hannukah, without the gifts and the candles and the visiting relatives meddling into your personal life.
So, without further ado, let's take our first question. It comes from the guy staring mournfully at the computer screen in his cubicle who is slowly reaching the conclusion that this afternoon's game might be less interesting than actually doing his job.
Does Domonic Brown have any chance at making the NLDS roster?
Sure. I don't know how big of a chance. But when you start to examine the Phillies' personnel situation, you realize that the possibility has to be discussed. Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he anticipates taking 10 pitchers, which would leave him with seven bench players to go with his eight regulars, which is the set-up they took into last year's NLDS.
Here's how an early projection of the roster looks:
Regulars (8): Jimmy Rollins SS, Shane Victorino CF, Chase Utley 2B, Ryan Howard 1B, Hunter Pence RF, Raul Ibanez LF, Placido Polanco 3B, Carlos Ruiz C
Starters (4): Roy Halladay RHP, Cliff Lee LHP, Cole Hamels LHP, Roy Oswalt RHP
RH Relievers (5): Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick
LH Relievers (1): Antonio Bastardo
RH Bench (3): OF John Mayberry Jr., OF Ben Francisco, INF Wilson Valdez
LH Bench (3): OF/1B Ross Gload, C Brian Schneider, INF Pete Orr
SH Bench (1): INF Michael Martinez
Anything jump out at you? How about the lack of left-handed power on the bench?
In the current projection, the Phillies biggest lefty power bat would be switch-hitting utility man Michael Martinez, who has nine extra base hits in 155 at-bats from the left side of the plate this season. Three of those extra base hits are home runs.
Ross Gload would be the top left-handed pinch-hitting option. He has battled a hip injury all season, but has eight hits in his last 22 at-bats, two of them doubles. He is also 18-for-72 with five doubles as a pinch-hitter on the season.
Orr, meanwhile, has three extra base hits in 89 at-bats.
Schneider has six extra base hits in 117 at-bats.
The Phillies traded for John Bowker just before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline in an attempt to add another option, but his 0-for-8 with six strikeouts since joining the team. Recent call-up Brandon Moss has one at-bat, which ended in a strikeout.
Which brings us to Brown.
Yes, he struggled mightily after being sent down to Triple-A. Yes, Ruben Amaro Jr. has said publicly he thinks his young outfielder could need a "mental break" after the toughest season of his pro career.
But. . .
Brown did hit five home runs, 10 doubles and one triple in 183 major league at-bats this season.
Brown does have more raw ability than any of the bench lefties listed above.
Brown is 5-for-20 with a double and a home run as a pinch-hitter in his brief time as a major leaguer.
Like I said, it's a possibility that the Phillies have to at least consider. In the end, they might decide it makes more sense to go with the extra utility infielder, or with Bowker, particularly since the Phillies could end up adding a pitcher if they reach the Best-of-Seven National League Championship Series, which would eliminate that last bench spot.
It isn't the most pressing of issues. But we've got nine days to kill.
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