You can go ahead and make those October tee-times. Sports Illustrated has chosen the Phillies as the team to doom by putting J-Roll on the cover of their playoff preview, setting up the infamous SI cover curse.
With nothing more to add, other than it's a terrific shot of J-Roll, let’s look at the Phillies NLDS roster according to several sources, including ComcastSportsNet.com and Howard Eskin of 610-WIP radio: Pitchers: Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Kyle Lohse, Jamie Moyer, Antonio Alfonseca, Clay Condrey, Tom Gordon, Jose Mesa, Brett Myers, J.C. Romero. Catchers: Carlos Ruiz, Rod Barajas, Chris Coste. Infielders: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs, Abraham Nunez, Tadahito Iguchi, Wes Helms. Outfielders: Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Michael Bourn.
Beerleaguer: No problem with the hitters. The biggest surprise is Rod Barajas, who made the cut because Carlos Ruiz is nursing a swollen arm. According to Eskin, the Phils can readjust rosters after the NLDS. Someone posting on one of the message boards brought up the point that Barajas against the lefty-heavy Rockies might not be a bad situation.
The weakest links are in the bullpen, which includes two struggling veterans in Jose Mesa and Antonio Alfonseca, who’re only good for an inning. The consensus seems to be that in a short series with a couple off-days thrown in, the better relievers will be fresh. Mesa, a veteran of 26 post-season games, got the nod over Geoff Geary, who’s got a strained right elbow, according to Comcast. The worst of the bunch is Alfonseca, who was horrible his last outing after a good, long rest. His K/BB ratio is sinking like a stone, as is my confidence in him. I trust their decision with a 90-percent healthy Geoff Geary. They demoted him many times and know the stuff isn't there. Clay Condrey, who's gradually worked his way into pressure spots, defaults into a mop-up role.
Should Hamels or Kendrick exit early tomorrow and Thursday, Lohse, scheduled to start later in the series, could be called on in relief. Adam Eaton is the biggest name left off the roster, which was a shock to no one and was the reason why I saved it for the second-last paragraph.
Summing up the points raised in the previous thread, the biggest debate is whether Abraham Nunez or Wes Helms should start at third tomorrow.