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With September winding down, Charlie Manuel is no doubt giving thought to setting his rotation for the playoffs. While Lee, Hamels and Blanton are the top three, the question of who will occupy that fourth spot is again very much an open question.
J.A. Happ was removed from his start the other day with a “tweak” of his oblique (that rhymes by the way). To me, “tweak” translates to “still injured” even though Happ says he feels fine. If J.A. can’t make his next couple of starts, then it looks like Pedro would be your fourth starter and J.A., I guess, would try and pitch out of the pen. Except…
Pedro was removed from his start this weekend with some sort of neck thing that he got while trying to hit. He indicated earlier this week that he “could not commit” to pitch in his next start. Words like this from a gamer like Pedro makes my ears perk up. Is it possible that he might miss his next start also? And then another one?
I hope the injuries to both of these guys clear up this week. If they don’t, then Charlie might find himself in the first week of October without knowing who is #4 is going to be. That would be bad. Waiting for medical clearance…how far can they go in a game?…is he still hurt?…pitch counts…blah, blah, blah. We can’t have this. The playoffs are no place to try and settle back in to the rotation after an injury. If there is any doubt as to Pedro’s fitness than he shouldn’t be on the playoff roster. He can’t be shortened up to relieve like Happ. If both these guys are iffy health-wise, I would put Happ in the pen (where he probably does the Phils the most good anyway). Pedro would have to be left off the playoff roster. Yes, that means Jamie Moyer is your fourth starter. I see it like this: I would rather Moyer pitch than put out a gimpy Pedro or a Happ that may not be able to go five innings.