Here is what we know: Pedro Martinez will start Game 6, going up against Andy Pettitte, who will pitch on three days rest. Martinez is fully rested, having pitched Game 2 on Thursday.
Beyond that, it’s a crapshoot and Charlie Manuel will likely wing it from here on out. However, Cole Hamels and his regrettable comments have thrown a wrench into any plan Manuel would put together. Does he have confidence in the lefty to put his quote in the past and pitch should there be a seventh game?
I say put Hamels in relief for these last two games of the year. In Game 6, should Pedro have to be removed early (say prior to the fifth inning) bring Hamels in to pitch two or three frames. That will save the likes of Happ, Blanton, and some of the tattered bullpen being run out there currently.
It’s a longshot here, and Manuel probably won’t do it, but I think it would be best for Hamels not to start. He’s under the microscope and to have him start the seventh game of the World Series is not the ideal situation. Cliff Lee – should the Phillies get that far – HAS to be the starting pitcher. If Charlie wants to throw Lee out for three innings to get it started, and then use Hamels in relief for that game, so be it. But he cannot stick to a plan regarding Hamels at this time.
As far as starting Lee, the old “all hands on deck” adage is getting a workout, although it is spot on. He can rest on Friday until spring training begins, so throwing 50 more pitches isn’t going to pull his arm out of its socket.
Back to Hamels; I want to see Charlie use him in one of the final two games, but I would feel a bit more comforted knowing it was not on the grandest stage in all of baseball, starting Game 7. Plus, Hamels has looked good early on in his starts, only to lose focus, have a play go awry, and have things snowball against him. If Manuel prepares him by letting him know he needs him in relief in the one of the final two games, it will take loads of pressure off of him and may allow him to positively contribute.
On the other side, it had been said by Joe Girardi that the Yankees will go with Pettitte. Interesting to see how that old left arm will hold up.
Should the Phillies start Lee and put Hamels in the bullpen to be available for either game? Or should Hamels get that start?
Pat Gallen can be reached via email at Pat@Philliesnation.com