Odds And Ends

Odds and Ends: Polanco, NL West, Bench

-Placido Polanco was given his 4th cortisone shot of the season yesterday in Philadelphia while the Phillies made their way to Atlanta for their season-ending three game series. Charlie Manuel said he wanted to get Polly some at bats before the end of the season, meaning an appearance either Saturday or Sunday.

The shot worries me a bit. We’ll know in about 48 hours how Polanco feels, but if you recall during the year, he spent part of June and July on the disabled list with this same ailment following a cortisone shot. However, his average has dipped from a season-high .325 on August 17 to .298 currently. Polanco is obviously hurting, so let’s hope this shot takes to his bum elbow and forearm, which has tendinitis. They can ill afford to have their best contact hitter slumping during the postseason.

In May, after getting his first shot, he came back three days later and went on a tear by collecting at least one hit in nine straight games. Let’s hope the results are the same this time around.

-The NL West may have just been locked up. The Giants won last night while the Padres fell 1-0 to drop to three back in the division. San Francisco and San Diego play each other three times to close out the season, so the Pads need a sweep to win the division. They can still get into the playoffs as the Wild Card if Atlanta falters.

Atlanta holds a two game lead and as you know, play the Phillies this weekend. If the Braves were to be swept and the Padres were to take two of three in their series, San Diego would tie the Atlanta forcing a one game playoff. Here is the entire postseason picture.

We know Cincinnati is in and if the playoff situation holds true, the Phillies would play the Reds in the NLDS while the Giants and Braves would do battle. I’d be hoping for a Padres sweep because they are by far the weakest club still alive and are limping toward the finish. San Francisco has the best club besides the Phils, but as of now an NLDS matchup is not likely. But a lot can change over the next 72 hours.

-Which way should Charlie Manuel go with the bench? Here’s my take. He should bring more bats and less arms.

Eleven pitchers for a short five-game NLDS with three of your horses going is more than enough. Hell, he could even bring 10 with him. Plus, with the three off days over the eight-day series, the arms in the bullpen will remain fresh. So who stays and who goes?

Here are the pitchers: Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Contreras, Romero, Bastardo, Kendrick.

I don’t think Baez makes it and I do believe Bastardo has pitched himself into the 11. However, we do know that Charlie Manuel is a creature of habit, so don’t be surprised to see Bastrado off with the possibility of Baez.

Here are the bench bats: Gload, Valdez, Francisco, Schneider, Sweeney, Dobbs.

Sadly, I don’t see Brown making it because of the uncertainty of Jimmy Rollins’ leg. Yes, he’ll play and has played. But should something happen, they would be without a guy who can play a corner infield position. Dobbs is the only guy who can play third base other than Valdez and if an injury occurs, there would be no backup. It’s a shame, because we would all like to see what Brown can do in the playoffs, but position scarcity will hurt Dom here, I do believe.

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