A sweep over the Padres this weekend put the Phils 3 games back of both the division and the Wild Card races. Chase Utley continued to put the team on his shoulders, with two game winning runs in three days. And with lines like “You always should run out every ground ball hard. You never know what can happen,” its no wonder Philly loves this guy. Is it safe to say he is on the untouchable list for the next week?
Most talk has pointed to Wagner moving to the Sox, the Red or the White, in a three team deal involving A.J Burnett. But half the league is in the AJ sweepstakes. The Newark Star Ledger also claims the Phils are trying to package Urbina and Padilla for a starter such as Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook or the Dodgers’ Odalis Perez. Ed Wade no doubt took advantage of a free scouting session on Thursday as Perez smoked the Phils for a 1-0 win.
But let’s say for a second, oh, the trade deadline comes and goes, what will our rotation look like? Tejeda has just returned as the fifth starter, Lidle is back after a two day absence from the team, and Padilla is hanging on by a thread. There are many questions marks here. Forget about Cole Hamles, he missed his start yesterday with back spasms and I don’t trust Gavin Floyd to handle the pressure down the stretch. Therefore looking at what will be if nothing happens, it seems likely that out of desperation some move will be made for a starting pitcher.
On the other hand, Uncle Charlie thinks all he needs is an arm to toss the first six innings. “With our bullpen, we feel like we’re in good shape if that happens,” he said. However, on Sunday this approach irked the young Brett Myers, who, after 95 pitches through six innings of one run ball, said “I felt strong, I wanted to go another inning.” I would have to take Brett’s side on this but for different reasons. There’s no need to set the bar low for Phils starters; they already only have three complete games on the year. Sure, the season is heading into the deep summer but this will eventually become taxing on the bullpen. I’m not sure if this will become the official Charlie Manuel strategy but it looking to be that way.
Speaking of starting pitching, the Phils will face Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, and Roger Clemens in Houston over the next few days. I had the opportunity to watch the Rocket Friday against the Nats and he was dominating. It will be interesting to see how the Phils handle a hot team like the ‘stros and some nasty pitching on the road.