Ruben Amaro Jr. made his point clear when he stated that J.A Happ is not leaving the starting rotation. That leaves the future for Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez up in the air, but Amaro has not ruled out the possibility of a six man rotation.
“It depends how you utilize it. You can be creative and set up the rotation so certain guys go every five days and other guys are pushed back. The fact of the matter is we’re not there yet. But we are in a situation where we have six starters, and we’ll see how creative we can be. We haven’t discussed it yet. You never know what’s going to happen over the next week to 10 days. We could have a guy go down right now. There are a lot of things that could happen over the next week to 10 days that could change our thinking completely.”
There become less chances for the Phillies top-of-the line starters to pitch. With a five man rotation, each starter gets about 10-11 more starts. A six man rotation cuts that number down to 8-9. It would be better to see Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A Happ and Joe Blanton get more starts, especially when Blanton and Hamels are improving as the year moves along and Lee and Happ have been superb all year.
The Phillies got Lee for a reason: so he can pitch every five days and dominate. Lee is like the 2009 version of CC Sabathia meaning that he switches leagues and shuts down the opponent. The only difference is that Lee will not have to pitch on three days of rest and be worn out for the postseason. But pitching on six days of rest may not be a good idea. Add in off-days and potential rain outs, Lee could see himself resting up to seven days. Of course, this applies to every other starter (Blanton, Happ, Hamels), and it is not such a smart idea. Some pitchers benefit from long rest. For others it takes them out of their rhythm.
There is only one off day in September, so a six man rotation becomes more practical. However, in the middle of a playoff chase, the Phillies want their ace to pitch every five days, at least until they can clinch a postseason spot.
All in all, the goal is to get Lee, Happ, Blanton, and Hamels as many starts as possible. Anything can happen, but right now, a six man rotation is still a thought. Probably not the best thought, but it is still an idea lingering in the mind of Amaro and Charlie Manuel.