Hard to believe that within the next 30 hours, the Phillies' season will be over, and they will either maintain their title as champions, or find themselves one or two wins short. The highlight of this weekend will either be a parade down Broad Street, or the Eagles' Sunday night tilt against the Cowboys. The Phillies will either enter the offseason again trying to improve the best team in the major leagues, or they will look to fix the three glaring personnel deficiencies that helped cost them the title -- an over-reliance on their left-handed sluggers, the lack of a powerful right-handed bat off the bench, and an inconsistent bullpen.
Four hours before the start of Game 6, manager Charlie Manuel said he expected center fielder Shane Victorino to be in the line-up. Victorino suffered a badly swollen, albeit unbroken, finger when he was hit on the right hand with an A.J. Burnett in the third inning of Game 5. Manuel labeled the finger "fine," although he said he would watch Victorino's swings and throws during batting practice to make sure the injured digit is not hampering him.
Assuming Victorino plays, Ben Francisco will start in left field, with Raul Ibanez serving as the designated hitter. Francisco hit seventh the last time he was in the line-up, but tonight he will hit eighth, with Pedro Feliz hitting seventh and Carlos Ruiz hitting ninth. The bottom of the Phillies' order could play a huge role in this game. Ibanez, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard combined to go 0-for-9 with six strikeouts off Andy Pettitte in Game 3. If Pettitte has similar success with his slider tonight, the five right-handed bats at Nos. 7 through 2 will need to help make up for the lack of production at the middle of the order.
Here are the line-ups: