The decision has finally been made. Cliff Lee will be on the mound for Game 1 against the Colorado Rockies starting Wednesday at 2:37 p.m. and Cole Hamels will go the following day for Game 2.
Beyond that, nothing has been etched in stone. Manuel said that both Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ will be available out of the bullpen for the first two games of the series, which gives the manager some flexibility should Lee or Hamels have to leave early. It also allows for Happ or Blanton to pitch on three days rest in Game 4 should one be needed in Game 1.
Pedro Martinez’s role has not been defined, but it certainly sounds like the bullpen is not his landing spot. That leaves the door open for him to pitch Game 3.
Lee will pitch on five days rest, a good omen for the Phillies. With that amount of rest, Lee is 32-13 lifetime with an ERA of 3.40 in the regular season. However, in his last seven starts, he is just 2-4. This is the first postseason start of his career.
The oddest part is the Joe Blanton scenario. Many thought he would be penciled in for the third game, but Manuel is keeping that option wide open, seemingly due to the injury issues in the bullpen.
UPDATE: J.C. Romero will have surgery on the flexor tendon in his throwing arm and be sidelined three-to-four months.