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Planning The Last Few Innings

So, bottom of the sixth. 9-1-2 up for the Phils. What to do?

Cole Hamels won’t come in for the seventh, so a pinch hitter is due. The whole bench is available. Look for the Rays to stick with Grant Balfour so the Phils make their move. Charlie Manuel will likely announce Geoff Jenkins. That would bring out a lefty, but not David Price, because the Rays would have to pinch hit for him in the seventh.

I would think the Rays instead turn to JP Howell or Trever Miller … or, stay with the right side and bring in Chad Bradford. If the Rays go left, the Phils should counter with So Taguchi, the best leadoff option in a sixth-inning situation. If the Rays go right, stay with Jenkins.

The key to the sixth will be Jimmy Rollins, who could be in position to move a runner to third, or score a runner. He needs to think about a line drive. I believe the layoff here will help him refocus, as he sort of lost that focus in game five.

Bullpen’s Moment

As for the mound, the Rays will lead off the inning with Dioner Navarro, Rocco Baldelli and Jason Bartlett. I say go with Chad Durbin, but on an extremely short leash. Have Scott Eyre or Ryan Madson ready to relieve him. Eyre should be in for Akinori Iwamura and Carl Crawford. Madson for BJ Upton and beyond.

That keeps JC Romero ready for the eighth or later, and keeps the possibility of Madson starting the eighth.

All, of this, hopefully, means 3=W.

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