Oct 6, 2009, 1:03 PM EDT
Charlie Manuel announced this afternoon that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the NLDS against Colorado, with Cole Hamels going in Game 2.
You can’t really go wrong either way, but Hamels has been the Phillies’ ace for years now and was named MVP of both the NLCS and World Series last October. On the other hand, a Game 1 assignment would have meant pitching on somewhat short rest for Hamels, who threw three innings Saturday in his final regular-season outing, and Lee has simply out-pitched him this season.
Obviously having a pair of No. 1 starters in the rotation is far more important than which order they’re in, and the fact that both Lee and Hamels are left-handed is especially advantageous against the Rockies. Colorado had the best OPS in the league against right-handed pitching this season, but ranked fourth against lefties.
Colorado will go with Ubaldo Jimenez against Lee in Game 1, with Aaron Cook facing Hamels in Game 2. Two excellent pitching matchups, featuring four of the best 20 starters in the league. Circling the Bases will have a full preview of the Phillies-Rockies series later today, following our Twins-Tigers tiebreaker game live blog.
As for who will get the ball in the ninth inning if the Phillies have a lead … well, Manuel wasn’t so sure about that, saying: “Hard to tell. Whoever you see walk out there.”
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