In a clear sign the Phillies are at least mildly concerned about Roy Halladay's workload, they have bumped their ace back a day during the next turn through the rotation. It also shows they have an eye toward resting as many regulars as possible should the team clinch early.
Kyle Kendrick, who was originally scheduled to start Monday, will now take his normal turn in the rotation on Saturday. That pushes Halladay from Sunday to Monday.
Halladay was scheduled to receive an extra day of rest in between his last two starts. The Phillies decided it was best to give him the extra day now.
This means, if the rotation stays on schedule, Kendrick, Cole Hamels and Halladay would start the final three games of the season in Atlanta. Then again, those games may not matter.
If that's the case, Hamels and Halladay could make abbreviated starts just to get some work in before the postseason begins.
Halladay leads the majors in innings pitched with 241 2/3. He is on pace to throw more than he has since 2003, when he pitched 266 innings. And combined with the playoffs, it's very possible Halladay eclipses that mark.
"They've logged some mileage, there's no question about that, especially with Halladay," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I'm just hoping we clinch. We'll take it from there."
If the Phillies do clinch the National League East, there remains the other plateau of best record in the league. And don't think that is meaningless. This season, the team with the best record in the NL will have choice of having an extra day off during the division series.
"That makes a whole lot of difference," Charlie Manuel said.
But it sounds as if the Phillies would be willing to go for the best record with some reserves on the field. Entering Wednesday, the Phillies had five more wins than the next best teams -- Atlanta and Cincinnati.
"Home-field advantage is significant," Amaro said. "But again, we have to be cognizant of the workload these guys have had. We'll see how things go."