MINNEAPOLIS — The forecast for baseball is not promising, especially when "large hail" and "funnel-like storms" are predicted. But the Phillies do not return here for the rest of the season, so it could be a long, wet night.
Whatever the case, Jim Thome is positioned in his cleanup spot again, where he has found great success. On Wednesday, Thome became the oldest Phillies player to ever have a four-RBI game at 41 years, 291 days old. (The previous holder was Matt Stairs, who did it at 41 years, 195 days in 2009.)
He's been a revelation in five games, but that likely doesn't change anything once play in American League ballparks ends Sunday. Thome's back will prevent him from starting again because he cannot play the field.
"I don't know how we're going to get him in there," Charlie Manuel said. "I don't think we can play him. We'd take a chance on his back stiffening up again. When you really look at it, we have to find some way where he can see BP at a game speed. That way he can keep his timing to a certain degree."
For now, Manuel will hit him as much as possible.
1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Hunter Pence 9
4. Jim Thome 0
5. Shane Victorino 8
6. Carlos Ruiz 2
7. Ty Wigginton 3
8. John Mayberry Jr. 7
9. Michael Martinez 4
Meanwhile, Joe Blanton will look to avoid making dubious Phillies history. He has allowed at least five earned runs in five straight starts, which is one shy of tying the franchise record.
Minnesota will start Scott Diamond, who has a 1.61 ERA in seven starts.
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.