WASHINGTON -- A few hours before Tuesday's game against the Nationals, Charlie Manuel said he had not decided upon a starting pitcher for Saturday's game in Pittsburgh.
"It's not like we're trying to hide, sneak or fool somebody," Manuel said.
About 15 minutes later, Rich Dubee revealed those state secrets: Kyle Kendrick will start.
It makes sense, given the schedule. The Phillies would need a fifth starter a week from today. So why not use the off day to provide everyone else with an extra day of rest?
If Chase Utley is elected to the NL all-star team, should he play in the game?
"Cliff Lee threw 122 pitches in the heat the other day," Dubee said. "Doc has been going deep into games. Hamels has been going deep into games. We're going to take advantage of the off day."
The Phillies expect Kendrick to be able to throw around 65 pitches. The obvious question, then becomes: What's the advantage of pitching Kendrick, who is not stretched out, when the problem cited with Vance Worley was his lack of stamina?
"The advantage is we need to get Vance Worley going right again," Dubee said. "This is probably more for Vance than anything. Personally, I think he kind of got messed up when we put him in the bullpen for that little period there. He was going pretty good and then he went to the bullpen and lost his edge, his stamina, his endurance."
That makes the matchups at PNC Park look like this:
Friday: Cole Hamels vs. Jeff Karstens
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick vs. Charlie Morton
Sunday: Roy Halladay vs. James McDonald
Brad Lidge threw in another extended spring training game. He pitched an inning without issue but he was clocked at 87 m.p.h., Dubee said, leaving the obvious unstated: It's still going to be a while before Lidge can return.
The erstwhile closer is scheduled to pitch again Friday and that could come with single-A Clearwater.
"It's going to take a while," Dubee said. "He's in a spring training stage."
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