UPDATED: 5:01 p.m.
Charlie Manuel confirmed that lefthander Cliff Lee will start Game 4 on Monday, most likely against Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Manuel said he told J.A. Happ yesterday that he planned on starting him Sunday. Both Happ and Manuel labelled his bruised left leg - suffered in Game 2 on a comebacker by Seth Smith - a "non-issue."
Is Happ the right choice to start?
Pedro Martinez will be available to pitch out of the bullpen the next couple of days.
"I told J.A. yesterday that he was going to pitch Sunday, and when the game got called today, I think, if I'm not mistaken, it's been about 10 or 11 days since Pedro Martinez pitched in a game," Manuel said. "And also the weather had something to do with it. And another thing that comes into play is the fact that Cliff Lee is on his regular rest. And we like left hand pitchers against Colorado. And I think that gives us the strongest way to go about it.
And also from here on out, the next couple of days Pedro will work out of the bullpen."
Cole Hamels would be able to pitch Game 5 if necessary.
"That's on Hamels' regular day, and also it depends on how much Blanton would get in the game and also Pedro," Manuel said. "But I like left hand pitchers against this team. And I think that we definitely match up good that way."
What do baseball players do with a snow day? Most of them went to the Cherry Creek Mall, about five miles outside of Denver. Jayson Werth was headed there, as were Brett Myers and Chad Durbin. Lefthander Scott Eyre and his wife and two sons were headed to Bass Pro Shop to pick up some cold-weather clothing and some fishing gear for when they return to their home in Bradenton, Fla.
I'm not sure about Pedro Martinez's snow day plans, but we know for sure he won't be starting Game 3 anymore. The Phillies announced that distinction belongs to lefthander J.A. Happ, who was not slotted to start today in order to give him more time to heal from a bruised shin. Martinez said he agreed with the move. In fact, he labelled it "the reasonable thing to do." But the veteran righthander said he will be ready to pitch out of the bullpen over the next three days, and that he would like to get at least a couple innings of relief in before he makes his first postseason start.
If the Phillies defeat the Rockies in two out of the next three games -- Game 3 tomorrow, Game 4 Monday in Colorado, Game 5 Tuesday in Philly if necessary -- Martinez could very well get his first postseason start in Game 1 or 2 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium, where he began his storied career 17 years ago.
Here is a quick breakdown of the likely rotation for the next week:
- NLDS Game Three (Oct. 11): J.A. Happ. The rookie lefthander pitched a complete game shut-out against the Rockies back in August. He matches up better against the Rockies line-up than Martinez, who hasn't faced batters since Sept. 30.
- NLDS Game Four (Mon, Oct. 12): Cliff Lee. Thanks to the postponement, Lee will likely face a re-match against Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Lee allowed one run in a complete game performance in Game 1. The Phillies scored four runs off of Jimenez, in five innings en route to a 5-1 win.
- NLDS Game Five (Tues, Oct. 13): If necessary, Cole Hamels will be available to pitch on four days rest. Hamels allowed four runs in five innings in Game 2, but was hurt by some bad luck in the first inning and a hanging curve ball later. His wife gave birth that day as well. This would obviously be an all-hands-on-deck game. Joe Blanton and Martinez will likely be available to pitch out of relief in each of these three games, and Happ would likely be available in Game 5 for an inning.
- OFF DAY (Wed., Oct. 14)
- NLCS Game One (Thu., Oct 15): If there is no Game 5, Hamels will likely get the start. He loves the mound at Dodger Stadium, where earlier this season he pitched a complete game shut-out. If Hamels pitches Game 5, I'd expect Martinez to get the start. He has good career numbers in L.A. and is very familiar with Dodger Stadium, as he pitched the first two years of his career there.
- NLCS Game Two (Fri., Oct. 16): If Hamels starts Game 1, I'd expect Martinez to start Game 2. If Martinez starts Game 1, Manuel will have an interesting decision to make between Blanton and Happ. The Dodgers have a ton of dangerous right-handed hitters, including Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez. And switch-hitting Rafael Furcal is much better against lefties than righties. But the Phillies also had a lot of success pitching the Dodgers inside last postseason, and Happ is very good at that. He also allowed one run in three innings of relief at Dodger Stadium last year in the NLCS. In the end, I think Manuel would end up going with Happ - provided he pitches well tomorrow - since Blanton could provide a valuable right arm out of the bullpen. Chan Ho Park's availability could also affect this decision. But right now I think he goes with Happ if the right-handed Martinez pitches Game 1.
- OFF DAY (Sat., Oct. 17)
- NLCS Game Three (Sun., Oct. 17): Cliff Lee. This one's a no-brainer. Lee will be on five days rest, when he is at his best. And he'll be at home, where he is at his best.
- NLCS Game Four (Mon., Oct. 18): Hamels, if he pitches Game 5 in the NLDS. If he pitches Game 1, then it will either be Blanton or Happ. Again, I predict he goes with Happ.
- OFF DAY (Tue., Oct. 19)
- NLCS Game Five (Wed., Oct. 20): Martinez, although everything from here on out depends on if this is an elimination game.
- OFF DAY (Thu., Oct. 21)
- NLCS Game Six (Fri., Oct. 22): Hamels or Lee
- NLCS Game Seven (Sat., Oct. 23): Hamels or Lee
All the Phillies I talked to are glad the game isn't being played today. Just walking down the street was enough to make your hands numb here, where the morning temperature was 18 degrees and the night time temp is predicted to be in the high 20's.
"Who knows what would happen," Werth said.
The forecast for tomorrow night isn't exactly balmy. The temperature at the 8:07 p.m. MST opening pitch is forecast to be 41 degrees, with a win chill in the upper 20's, according to AccuWeather. It is expected to hold steady throughout the duration of the game.
So it will still be cold.