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It’s almost September and with the division reasonably in hand, Phillies fans may be tempted to allow their minds to wander towards the postseason and the Phils chances. OK. I know some of you think that is bad luck with so much baseball yet to be played. But I’m a chance-taker so lets do it anyway. These are one man’s thoughts about the Phillies and the playoffs (Note: when I was growing up, we didn’t have catchy acronyms like “LCS” and such, they were just called “the playoffs”).
I think the playoff rotation should be as follows: Lee, Blanton, Hamels, Happ. For those of you who didn’t know that Lee was an ace when he got here, you know now. Blanton getting the #2 spot over Hamels is counter-intuitive until you realize that Blanton has been a rock for months. A 3.88 ERA in this day and age is nothing to sneeze at; plus starting Blanton after Lee sets up a righty-lefty combo at the top of the rotation. This is important because the Pujolses and the Ramirezes of the world, and the lineups surrounding them, are primarily righties. Yes, Cole was great in the postseason last year but he’s got issues this year. It goes without saying though that if Cole gets it together, he slides to #2.
The Lidge Problem
If Brad Lidge doesn’t straighten out soon and Ruben can’t find a replacement, Charlie is eventually gonna have to stop sticking with “his guy”. The Phils might be forced to go with a “bullpen by committee” based on late-inning match-ups. Romero and Erye, and possibly Moyer, would give the pen three lefties which would make a committee set up a lot easier to do. Don’t get me wrong, Lidge will probably still be the primary guy to shut it down, but if he comes into the 9th with one out to go, and the opposing team goes to a lefty, and Romero or Eyre haven’t been used yet…
In the postseason, eventually every wart on your team becomes exposed sooner or later. That said, Francisco, Dobbs, and Stairs, despite his poor showing of late, should be fine. But you just can’t have two guys hitting below .200 on your bench – period. Bako will stay because he’s the backup catcher. That leaves Bruntlett. The only reason one would actually REALLY need this guy is if Rollins or Utley go down. So If I’m Amaro, I DL him on about August 25 and replace him with a player of any position that can hit better than a 7-year old child. This move would make that hitter eligible for the postseason roster while Bruntlett remains eligible as an injury replacement if the above nightmare scenario occurs. Whew. That’s done.
Questions loom, but there is time. Every team has to tinker between now and September 1. That righty middle-infielder type that can hit .250 would nice. As would another sold lefty arm for the pen. I trust Ruben. But one last thing: Watch out for those Redbirds.