ATLANTA - The Phillies had been deliberating about their postseason rotation since they clinched their fourth consecutive National League East Division title Monday in Washington.
The deliberating has ended.
Roy Halladay, as expected, will start Game 1 of the division series Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. Roy Oswalt will pitch Game 2 Friday, also at the Bank, and Cole Hamels will take the mound for Game 3, which will be played Sunday on the road.
It had been assumed that Halladay, the club's 21-game winner and Cy Young Award contender, would be the Game 1 starter. Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee indicated Oswalt was the choice for Game 2 because he's never lost a start at Citizens Bank Park. The compact righthander is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts on the Phillies' home turf and 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts since the Phillies acquired him from Houston in late July.
"Roy's found a very good comfort zone at home," Dubee said before the Phillies opened the final regular-season series against the Braves Friday at Turner Field. "Cole's had some really good games in Cincinnati. He pitches very well on the road, as he does at home."
The Central Division champion Reds began Friday as the team with the best chance of playing the Phillies in the division series.
There was speculation the Phillies might start Hamels in Game 2 to give their opponent a righty-lefty-righty look.
But Dubee said Halladay and Oswalt are different kinds of pitchers, which made splitting them up moot.
"If there were two guys alike, then you might want to [split them up]," Dubee said. "But those guys are very different. Cole has pitched some very good games at Cincinnati, and at home."
The Phillies' top three starters are generally regarded as the best trio in the game. Any of them would be the No. 1 starter for many teams. Dubee said Halladay's resumé made him the pick for Game 1.
"In my opinion he's the Cy Young Award winner, and there's only one of those," Dubee said. "So I would think that's the guy you'd want to start. He is 21-10. I think his numbers are probably loftier than the other two guys even though Roy Oswalt has been unbelievable."
Halladay, who leads the NL with 2502/3 innings, will not pitch this weekend in Atlanta. His turn to start would have been Saturday, but pitching him Saturday would have forced him to open the postseason on short rest.
Dubee said that Hamels would get a brief stint as a starter Sunday and that Oswalt would throw an inning or two.
Under the weather.
After Manuel said he was concerned about Hamels then declined to elaborate, Dubee said the lefthander had a head cold.
"We're just a little concerned about him, that's all," Manuel said. "We're just kind of watching him."
Hamels threw a bullpen session Friday and Dubee said, "He just threw right now. You should have seen him."
Hamels had his first poor outing since the all-star break in a 7-3 loss Sunday against the Mets, allowing five runs and nine hits in four innings.
With Halladay resting, righthander Vance Worley will make his second big-league start Saturday against Atlanta. He was recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sept. 6.
Manuel said Placido Polanco would see action this weekend. The third baseman had a cortisone injection in his left elbow Wednesday, his fourth of the season. He's expected to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the elbow during the off-season. . . . It appears that lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo will be on the postseason roster for the second straight year. "We definitely can use two lefties [out of the bullpen]," Manuel said. The other is J.C. Romero.
Last night's Phillies-Braves game ended too late for this edition. Go to www.philly.com for all your late sports.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.