Did the Philadelphia Phillies just become the Braves’ best friend?
The expectation of the season-ending series against Philadelphia determining the National League East champion obviously didn’t happen. The Phillies don’t care that much about the weekend series at Turner Field, and manager Charlie Manuel is setting up his pitching rotation with the postseason in mind. That means instead of facing projected Cy Young winner Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44) on Friday night, the Braves will go against Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.76).
There’s more: Roy Oswalt said he doesn’t expect to pitch this weekend and there’s a feeling in Philadelphia that if Cole Hamels starts, he will throw a limited number of pitches. This series may be playoff life-or-death for the Braves but it’s spring training for the Phillies. There also could be an obvious ripple effect thr0ugh the lineup, with the Philly resting starters or giving them only limited at-bats.
Of course, the Braves have absolutely no problem with the Phillies’ attitude toward these games. My guess is San Diego and San Francisco probably aren’t as thrilled.
For what it’s worth, the Braves have struggled against both Halladay and Kendrick this season. Halladay is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA against them. Kendrick had no-decisions in two starts but allowed only one run in 15 innings (0.60) in two starts in April and June.
So there’s the backdrop for today’s 4:35 p.m. game against Florida. In case you missed it, here’s my column off of Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Marlins, which expanded the Braves’ lead over San Diego in the wild card race to 1 1/2 games. The Braves won the same day they learned that Martin Prado was lost for the season with a torn oblique and a hip pointer.
It remains to be seen how the Braves would do if they make it to the postseason. But few figured they would even be in this position with all the issues they’ve had this season.