Six days left until the biggest series of the year in the National League.
The Phillies official website reports that the Phillies pitching coach, Rich Dubee, may be looking to deliver a knock out blow next week when facing the Atlanta Braves. Given the recent awakening of the Phillies' bats, that doesn't sound like too bad an idea.
With just over two weeks left in this season, and six games remaining between the two NL East teams, it's pretty obvious that the race to first place will all come down to the head-to-head match-up.
The Braves, known to be a resilient team, are going to have much to contend with come these final games down the stretch because, of the six games remaining, it's quite possible the Phillies will pitch their aces in five of them.
All it would take is for Rich Dubee to realign this weekend's pitching rotation, and voila! To make it happen, all Dubee would have to do is switch Roy Oswalt's and Kyle Kendrick's starts this weekend.
Oswalt is set to pitch on Saturday, September 18, but if switched to pitch on Friday, September 17th, instead, the trio could line up against those wily Braves on Monday, starting with Cole Hamels. But does Dubee see it the same way?
He commented on the matter, as reported by Todd Zoleki saying:
"As long as [Oswalt] is feeling fine, there's a real good chance,...I don't think there's any downside to pitching Oswalt, Hamels, and Halladay. They are our front three starters. I would think if you have two series with the Braves, you'd want the best guys available, if possible."
The news comes at no surprise to some, given what's at stake here. Between the Atlanta Braves, the San Francisco Giants, and the red hot, Colorado Rockies jostling for playoff berths, it seems winning the division will be key—Dubee is not going to be the one to take that chance.
In September the three have put up stellar pitching performances, pitching for a combined 51 innings, going 7-0, and throwing 52 strikeouts, while only giving up, between the three of them, an average of under two runs per game.
The Braves have faced two of the three pitchers this year, in four games. The pitchers have gotten the best of them in three of the four games pitching, between the two of them, 23 innings, giving up seven runs, throwing 20 strikeouts, and only giving up two runs.
For the Phils, the good news is, Roy Halladay has absolutely dominated the Braves the two times he faced them, going the distance in both games.
In the first game, Halladay pitched an .82 ERA, giving up no runs, and striking out seven. His second game interestingly enough were strikingly similar numbers, but with one home run given up.
The good news for the Braves is, they seemed to have less of a struggle with Hamels, scoring six runs on him, including a three-run homer by Troy Glaus in the rain, while splitting a game a piece with him.
Now, Hamels and Halladay add Oswalt to the show and for the first time this season, line up in one series and take on the Atlanta Braves for all of the marbles.
If that doesn't get you excited as a Braves, or Phillies fan, nothing will.
It most certainly will be must see TV, and yours truly, will be all over that coverage the whole week. Stay tuned.