The Phillies will go with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the NLDS, manager Charlie Manuel announced.
Philadelphia has no need for a fourth starter as the club selected the eight-day NLDS schedule, allowing a three-man rotation with each pitcher pitching on normal rest. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that the opposing team (currently shaping up to be the Reds) will also be able to use a three-man rotation -- but no team's three-man rotation can match up to the pitchers the Phillies will trot out.
"That’s exactly what we think, that was our thinking," Manuel said according to the Times Herald .
Halladay is the pretty obvious choice to draw the first start, as the probable Cy Young winner has a 21-10 record to go along with a 2.44 ERA and 2.93 xFIP in 250 2/3 innings. The right-hander will be followed by yet anther righty in Roy Oswalt, who has 210 2/3 innings split between the Astros and Phillies on the year. Total, he has a 13-13 mark with a 2.73 ERA and 3.47 xFIP that has placed him back in elite pitcher territory after a brief hiatus. That ERA is 1.65 in 12 starts with Philadelphia.
Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, checks in third with 206 2/3 innings with a 3.09 ERA, 3.43 xFIP and 12-11 record.
How can anyone compete?
The one question that arises here is why Hamels isn't pitching second to split up the righty Roys. The answer is two-fold. First, Hamels has a head cold that Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee are concerned about, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Starting him third gives him an extra day to get on his feet.
Lastly, Oswalt flat-out dominates the Reds in his career. In 34 games, he has a 23-3 line with a 2.81 ERA. Granted, that line has sank to 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA (and both games were while he was an Astro) in a year where the Reds won the division title as opposed to being afterthoughts, but those are some mighty impressive numbers regardless.
Oswalt, perhaps unsurprisingly then, lines up to face the Reds in a crucial Game 5 if necessary to advance to the NLCS.
-- Evan Brunell
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