Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Rotation decisions make sense in long run

When the Phillies announced their rotation for this series against the Giants, several e-mailers wondered why they decided to start Joe Blanton on Wednesday night. The off day on Monday gave them the option of starting Cole Hamels on Wednesday and Roy Halladay on Thursday, both on normal rest. That would have enabled them to pitch Halladay against the playoff-contending Giants instead of the cellar-dwelling Nationals.

Rotation decisions make sense in long run

Joe Blanton earned his fifth win of the season Wednesday night against the Giants. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Joe Blanton earned his fifth win of the season Wednesday night against the Giants. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

When the Phillies announced their rotation for this series against the Giants, several e-mailers wondered why they decided to start Joe Blanton on Wednesday night. The off day on Monday gave them the option of starting Cole Hamels on Wednesday and Roy Halladay on Thursday, both on normal rest. That would have enabled them to pitch Halladay against the playoff-contending Giants instead of the cellar-dwelling Nationals.

But after looking at the rest of the Phillies schedule, it appears as if there was a method to their madness. Instead of looking at the pothole in front of them, they were looking at the overturned turnip truck down the road.

Long story short, keeping the rotation in order through the off day is the easiest way for them to set up Halladay, Hamels and Roy Oswalt to face the Braves in each of the six games they'll play in the last two weeks of the season.

If the Phillies had moved Hamels and Halladay up a day for this series against the Giants, either Blanton or Kyle Kendrick would have ended up facing the Braves in mid-September.

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Keep in mind that the Phillies' next off day isn't until Sept. 9. So whatever order they chose for this series is the way it would remain for 24 straight games.

Under their current set-up, here is the likely rotation leading into the Sept. 9 off day and then through the rest of the season.

Sept.  4 - MIL - Halladay (4)
Sept.  5 - MIL - Kendrick (4)
Sept.  6 - FLA - Oswalt and DH spot starter (4)
Sept.  7 - FLA - Blanton (4)
Sept.  8 - FLA - Hamels (4)
Sept.  9 - OFF
Sept. 10 - at NYM - Halladay (5)
Sept. 11 - at NYM - Kendrick (5)
Sept. 12 - at NYM - Oswalt (5)
Sept. 13 - at FLA - Blanton (5)
Sept. 14 - at FLA - Hamels (5)
Sept. 15 - at FLA - Halladay (4)
Sept. 16 - OFF
Sept. 17 - WSH - Oswalt (4)
Sept. 18 - WSH - Kendrick (6)
Sept. 19 - WSH - Blanton (5)
Sept. 20 - ATL - Hamels (5)
Sept. 21 - ATL - Halladay (5)
Sept. 22 - ATL - Oswalt (4)
Sept. 23 - OFF
Sept. 24 - NYM - Blanton (4)
Sept. 25 - NYM - Hamels (4)
Sept. 26 - NYM - Halladay (4)
Sept. 27 - at WSH - Oswalt (4)
Sept. 28 - at WSH - Kendrick (9)
Sept. 29 - at WSH - Blanton (4)
Sept. 30 - OFF
Oct.   1 - at ATL - Halladay (5)
Oct.   2 - at ATL - Hamels (5)
Oct.   3 - at ATL - Oswalt (5)

The key is that Sept. 10 game in New York. Whatever pitcher starts that game will have to start on Sept. 15 against the Marlins (because he'll be the only one on normal rest). And whoever starts that Sept. 15 game against the Marlins will be lined up to face the Braves, regardless of how the Phillies utilize the off day on Sept. 16.

Under the current set-up, Halladay is on track to start that Sept. 10 game in New York. Therefore, he is set up to be in the driver's seat for the stretch run.

But if the Phillies would have moved Hamels and Halladay up a day to face the Giants, Blanton would have been the pitcher starting that Sept. 10 game against the Mets. The only other option would be Kendrick, since he is the only other pitcher besides Blanton who would be on normal rest.

That means Blanton or Kendrick would be the only two pitchers who could start on full rest against the Marlins on Sept. 15. And because the Phillies would need five starters the following week, because they play six straight games without a day off, Kendrick or Blanton would have to pitch one of those games against the Braves.


Sept.  4 - MIL - Blanton (4)
Sept.  5 - MIL - Kendrick (4)
Sept.  6 - FLA - Oswalt and DH spot starter (4)
Sept.  7 - FLA - Hamels (4)
Sept.  8 - FLA - Halladay (4)
Sept.  9 - OFF
Sept. 10 - at NYM - Blanton or Kendrick
Sept. 11 - at NYM -
Sept. 12 - at NYM -
Sept. 13 - at FLA -
Sept. 14 - at FLA -
Sept. 15 - at FLA - Blanton or Kendrick
Sept. 16 - OFF
Sept. 17 - WSH -
Sept. 18 - WSH -
Sept. 19 - WSH -
Sept. 20 - ATL - Blanton or Kendrick on Normal Rest
Sept. 21 - ATL -
Sept. 22 - ATL -

Under the current order:

Neither Halladay nor Hamels will face the Nationals at all in September.

All six games against the Braves will be started by Halladay, Hamels or Oswalt. And in five of those games the starter will be working with an extra day of rest.

Kendrick will face the Mets (3.00 ERA in 7 career games against them) instead of the Marlins (5.48 ERA in 12 career games against them) in September.

The Phillies will have flexibility to use their final off day before the final series of the season to put Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt in pretty much any order they choose, or have them each pitching on an extra day of rest.
 

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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