With two days off thanks to Hurricane Irene, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely to be well rested when they begin a seven-game road trip against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
Rest, however, will be at a premium for manager Charlie Manuel's club, which won't have the luxury of further scheduled off days as it continues its quest for a fifth straight NL East title.
The MLB-leading Phillies (83-46), who fell 6-5 to Florida on Friday, saw the final two games of that set postponed due to weather.
Philadelphia now plays 33 games in 31 days, including a make-up doubleheader versus the Marlins on Sept. 15 - the original date of the team's last day off.
"We're not the only people dealing with it, so you just have to move on and deal with it the best way you can," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
The powerful storm has not only altered the team's schedule, but also baseball's best starting rotation, which leads the majors with a 2.96 ERA.
Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62 ERA) is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL (left shoulder inflammation) and take the hill for this four-game series opener. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who were supposed to pitch over the weekend, will likely follow Hamels while Vance Worley and Roy Oswalt bring up the rear.
"It's pretty hard to get guys slotted in on their fifth day," Dubee said. "I think we're looking forward to getting back to a normal schedule. Hopefully that will happen in Cincinnati."
In his most recent outing, Hamels yielded three runs, six hits and a season worst-tying four walks in five innings of a 4-2 loss to Washington on Aug. 12. The left-hander, who blamed the poor effort on a dead arm, was placed on the DL 11 days later but showed no ill effects of the injury during Tuesday's bullpen session.
"He's great," Dubee told the Phillies' official website. "He threw the ball really, really well (Tuesday) and he's feeling strong, no arm discomfort, really good command of everything, no hesitancy."
Including a five-hitter in last season's division series, Hamels has limited Cincinnati to a .168 average over his career - his lowest mark against any opponent - and won eight straight starts in the series while posting a 1.34 ERA. He is 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in four career outings at Great American Ball Park.
Brandon Phillips is 4 for 29 (.138) lifetime against Hamels while Joey Votto is just 2 for 16 (.125).
Votto, however, enters this matchup with a bit of momentum after hitting two homers - including a walkoff shot in the 14th inning - as Cincinnati (67-66) recorded its fourth straight win and a three-game sweep of the Nationals with Sunday's 5-4 victory.
"It didn't feel like a great day with the bat for me but I end up with a couple homers and a couple walks. It's such an odd game sometimes," he said.
Votto is 21 for 56 (.375) with nine home runs and 16 RBIs over his last 17 games.
The Reds give the ball to Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) seeking a season best-tying fifth straight win. Bailey surrendered three runs and five hits in seven innings of Wednesday's 6-5 loss at Florida.
The right-hander, who has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of eight home starts, is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in four career meetings with the Phillies - all of which have come at Philadelphia.
The Phillies have won seven of eight against the Reds.