Phils continue to mull over NLDS roster
Position players set, but questions about staff remain
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had a couple things hanging over them Saturday at Citizens Bank Park:
The 25-man postseason roster.
The Phllies will have home-field advantage for the National League Division Series, but the postseason roster does not need to be finalized until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, when the Phillies play Game 1 of the NLDS against the Rockies or Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies seem likely to take 12 pitchers, which would mean the 13 position players are set:
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz and Paul Bako.
Infield: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and Eric Bruntlett.
Outfield: Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Matt Stairs.
The pitching staff is not nearly as easy to call because of injuries and ineffectiveness. Expect left-handers Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and right-hander Joe Blanton to be in the rotation. The fourth starter could be left-hander J.A. Happ or right-hander Pedro Martinez.
Happ is 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA, while Martinez is 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Happ deserves to start, but the Phils are short in the bullpen with injuries to left-handers J.C. Romero and Jamie Moyer and right-hander Chan Ho Park. Happ has pitched in the bullpen this season, while Martinez is not ideal for the bullpen.
"If he's not the best, he sits right there with him," Manuel said, asked if Happ has been the team's best starting pitcher this season. "He's been that good. When I think about it, you want him in there because he is a starter, but missing Romero ... if he pitches one inning in three days, he could come back and pitch on his regular turn. I'm not saying we're going to do that, but that does enter my mind."
In other words, the possibility exists that the Phillies could use Happ in the bullpen early in the series, but still have him start if he doesn't throw many innings.
That would leave 10 pitchers competing for seven remaining bullpen spots: Antonio Bastardo, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Sergio Escalona, Scott Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers and Tyler Walker.
Manuel dropped a few hints about what could happen.
"I think Scott Eyre definitely could pitch on lefties," he said. "I think Brett Myers has all the experience in the world. If he can go, I think he can help us in the bullpen because he's done that."
Both Eyre and Myers have battled injuries this month. Eyre is pitching with a loose body in his left elbow, but he said he has felt good. Myers had a strained latissimus dorsi, but he also said he feels fine.
Is the closer Madson or Lidge?
"You've got Madson and you've got Brad," Manuel said. "I've heard people talk. I've heard people say instead of using Brad, use somebody else. But who else out there would you want on the mound if you were going to win or lose a game? Who would you want? Take your pick. I always get back to Lidge. I've got Madson and Lidge in there. Madson probably would be the guy I would go to today to win the game. But there's going to come a point where Lidge is going to have to pitch and do the job."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.