UPDATED: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced that Brett Myers will be activated before Friday night's game in Houston against the Astros.
Myers has been on the disabled list following hip surgery and has rehabbed quicker than anticipated. The final hurdle, seemingly, was throwing on back-to-back days, which Myers did in Triple A on Tuesday and Wednesday.
There's been a lot of talk about a potential first round match-up between the Phillies and the Giants, so something that Charlie Manuel said in his press conference last night is worth filing away in your mental piggy bank. Somebody asked Skip about the long-term implications of tonight's rubber match between the two teams, and he immediately flashed back to 2007, when the Phillies split a four-game mid-September series with the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. They had already lost two out of three to Colorado in Denver, and wound up losing the season series 3-4.
Less than a month later, the Rockies won two straight games at Citizens Bank Park and then finished off the Phillies in Colorado to advance to the NLCS.
"We caught them when they were hot," Manuel said. "I feel like that kind of inspired them."
Which brings us to tonight, when one of the oldest active Cy Young winners (Pedro Martinez) squares off against the youngest (Tim Lincecum). Lincecum has already beaten the Phillies once this season, holding them scoreless for eight innings. For a team that has scored just 11 runs in its last six games, that does not bode well.
The conventional wisdom holds that no team wants to face Lincecum and fellow young ace Matt Cain in a five-game series. But heading into tonight, three of the Phillies' four losses to the Giants this season have come against pitchers other than Lincecum and Cain.
The good news is that the Phillies would have their own pair of aces on the mound in Games 1 and 2. And those aces, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, have both pitched complete games against the Giants this season. But the Giants also roughed Hamels up earlier this season at ATT Park. Which makes tonight's match-up intriguing. The Phillies could fire an important salvo in what could be their first battle of the postseason by mustering some offense against Lincecum. Not only would it help them break out of this current slump, but it would give the Giants something to think about come October. Of course, Lincecum has allowed more than three runs exactly twice since June 1, and leads the league with six starts of at least eight scoreless innings.
In their last 34 games last season, the Phillies swept the Brewers in four games and the Dodgers in four games. Perhaps not coincidentally, they went on to beat both teams in the playoffs.
A loss tonight to the Giants could very well prove meaningless come October.
But you can bet that, in an ironic twist, there will be a lot of diamond-encrusted fingers crossed while rooting for the Rockies down the stretch.