The Philadelphia Phillies have already secured home-field
advantage throughout the NL playoffs. Remaining sharp in
preparation of making a run at a third straight pennant is the goal
The Phillies attempt to rebound from their third loss in four
tries when they face the Washington Nationals in the finale of this
three-game set Wednesday night.
Philadelphia (94-64) opened this series with an 8-0 win Monday,
clinching a franchise-record fourth consecutive NL East title and
the league’s best record. Adam Dunn’s walkoff homer sent the
Phillies to a 2-1 loss Tuesday.
With four games left in the regular season, manager Charlie
Manuel doesn’t appear worried about wins and losses.
“We’ve got to keep getting our players some playing time,” he
said. “We’ve got to try and keep them sharp.”
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 3 Tuesday in his first start
since a right hamstring injury limited him to one pinch-hit
appearance in the previous 16 games.
”I won’t be 100 percent until next February – probably,”
Rollins said. ”I just won’t steal bases unless it’s 100 percent a
necessity. I want to get as much rest as I can, do as much as I can
with it before I have to push it.”
The 2007 NL MVP is hitting .245 with seven homers and 37 RBIs.
The Phillies are a much better team with Rollins in the lineup,
going 30-6 when he scores a run.
Joe Blanton (8-6, 4.94 ERA) takes the mound for Philadelphia
looking for his first win in the nation’s capital. The right-hander
is 0-3 with a 7.67 ERA in six games at Washington.
He’s entering this start with momentum, however, going 5-0 with
a 3.54 ERA in 12 starts since losing at St. Louis on July 21. That
stretch includes a road start against the Nationals on July 31,
when he didn’t get a decision after allowing four runs in six
innings of a 7-5 defeat.
Blanton was solid Friday, yielding two runs in seven innings of
a 3-2 win over the Mets.
Despite his unbeaten stretch, Blanton is expected to be used out
of the bullpen in the NL division series, which begins next
Wednesday. The Phillies opted to play that series over an eight-day
schedule. The extra off day will allow them to go with a three-man
rotation that will likely consist of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and
“I’m here to win another ring,” Blanton said. “That’s more
important to me than anything.”
The Nationals are assured of finishing last in the East for a
fifth time in six years, and Wednesday could be Dunn’s final game
Dunn, a free agent this offseason, leads the team with 38 homers
and 103 RBIs.
“I’m not going to go into (Wednesday) going, ‘This is my last
home game ever,’ cry, go hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards. I’m not
going to do that,” Dunn said. “I don’t know what y’all want me to
say. I don’t know what’s going to happen. If I did, I would tell
y’all. I do not.”
Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.52) gets one last chance this year to
prove he’s worthy of a spot in the Nationals’ 2011 rotation.
The left-hander turned in perhaps his best performance of the
season in Thursday’s 7-2 win over Houston. He yielded two runs in a
season-high six innings to get his first victory since Sept. 28,
Detwiler has been on the disabled list twice this season with
hip injuries after undergoing offseason surgery.
He’s 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in four games – three starts – against