Philadelphia Phillies: Speculating the Starting Rotation Throughout the Playoffs

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Philadelphia Phillies: Speculating the Starting Rotation Throughout the Playoffs
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Winning a World Series and Kissing a Hot Blonde! It's great to be Cole

OK, this assumes the Phillies will go to the World Series but here goes nothing.

If the Phillies are the top seed in the NL (which they would be if the season ended today), they would get the option of playing Game 1 on Wednesday vs Game 1 on Thursday. All other games would be the same regardless.

Starting a day earlier will allow the Phillies to go to a 3 man rotation with one pitcher starting games 1 and 4 on regular rest and another starting on games 2 and 5 on regular rest. If they start Thursday, the Game 1 pitcher on Thursday would have to pitch on short rest to start Game 4 (Monday). I am assuming the Phillies will choose to start a day earlier if they have the choice.

In the NLCS and World Series, you have to go with a 4 man rotation according to the schedules (they removed non-travel days off). If you go to a 3 man rotation, one pitcher could be pitching 3 games in 9 days and your #2 and #3 pitchers will both have to go on short rest as well.

I am against a 3 run lineup. Joe Blanton has won playoff games and World Series games before (heck, he won one with his bat before - remember the 2008 Game 4 home run?). We also have Kendrick as well. Or maybe a few innings of each. I'd rather have fresh Hamels, Halladay, and Oswalt. Think about it, if we can't win 4 out of 6 games that the Big 3 pitch, we don't deserve to win the series. And if we expect our pitchers to pitch on short rest, pitch counts become more important and we have to take our starters out earlier and depend more on our bullpen. So to me a 4 man rotation is the way to go.

 

I may be in the minority on these next two points.

1) I want my ace on the mound if I get to a Game 7. Assuming a 4 man rotation, three pitchers pitch two games - Games 1 and 5, 2 and 6, and 3 and 7. Why is it so important to have your ace pitch Game 1? He's only going to pitch 2 games anyway. I'd set it up for my ace to start Game 3 and 7. Don't you want your best pitcher on the mound in the most important game of the season? As for the NLDS, if you use a 3 man in a best of 5, the pitcher pitching Game 5 would pitch Game 2.

2) Who do I consider the ace? Cole Hamels. Yeah, Roy Halladay won 20 games. The playoffs are a totally different beast. Halladay has never pitched in the postseason. Sure Cole pitched horribly in 2009 but are you going to hold that against him? What was Roy doing last October? Playing golf? And let me ask you, who's got the ring? Or the MVP trophy (make that trophies)? CC Sabathia is a great regular season pitcher but the Phillies have had a lot of success against him in the playoffs. Cole has proven at least once he can pitch in the playoffs and World Series. Roy hasn't.

So based on my two points, here is my projected pitching schedule assuming we make it to the World Series and every series goes the distance.

NLDS Game 1 (Wed. Oct. 6): Halladay

NLDS Game 2 (Fri. Oct. 8): Hamels

NLDS Game 3 (Sun. Oct. 10): Oswalt

NLDS Game 4 (Mon. Oct. 11): Halladay

NLDS Game 5 (Wed. Oct. 13): Hamels  

 

NLCS Game 1 (Sat. Oct. 16): Oswalt

NLCS Game 2 (Sun. Oct. 17): Halladay

NLCS Game 3 (Tue. Oct. 19): Hamels

NLCS Game 4 (Wed. Oct. 20): Blanton or Kendrick

NLCS Game 5 (Thur. Oct. 21): Oswalt

NLCS Game 6 (Sat. Oct. 23): Halladay

NLCS Game 7 (Sun. Oct. 24): Hamels  

 

World Series Game 1 (Wed. Oct. 27): Oswalt

World Series Game 2 (Thur. Oct. 28): Halladay

World Series Game 3 (Sat. Oct. 30): Hamels

 

World Series Game 4 (Sun. Oct. 31): Blanton or Kendrick

World Series Game 5 (Mon. Nov. 1): Oswalt

World Series Game 6 (Wed. Nov. 3): Halladay

World Series Game 7 (Thur. Nov. 4): Hamels

 

I would want my top two starting twice in the NLDS so Halladay and Hamels with Hamels potentially starting Game 5. Now assuming the NLDS goes 5 and we advance, Oswalt likely has to start Game 1. Same for the NLCS/World Series.

To me, Game 1 is just one of seven games. You got to win four of them. Who cares if you don't have your best pitcher on Game 1? We won Game 1 of the World Series last year. It didn't do us much good. Then again, there are 29 other teams in baseball. 21 of them would love to be in the playoffs and I would imagine about half of the 8 teams in the playoffs would love for Roy Oswalt to be pitching Game 1 for them.

Now should we clinch the NLDS or NLCS early, maybe I would go with Halladay for Game 1 and switch Oswalt to Game 2. But Cole Hamels to be must be the guy who takes the ball for Game 7. Then again, if Halladay looks good in the NLDS and/or NLCS, maybe I would be comfortable having him pitch Game 7 for me. And you would also consider the potential lineup (Halladay vs a lineup more dependent on right handed hitters and Cole vs a lineup more dependent on lefties).

Then again, if you're arguing Cole Hamels or Roy Halladay for Game 7, life is good.

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