Cole Hamels (1-2, 5.04) tries to give eight relievers reason to twiddle their thumbs when the Phillies open a three-game set against Johnny Cueto (4-1, 1.93) and the Reds. Meanwhile, the Phils have seen enough of Chan Ho Park in the rotation. They will replace him with J.A. Happ and stick Park in the 'pen, according to two reports.
Park returns to the bullpen after pitching to a 7.06 ERA in seven starts. Reportedly signed to be a reliever all along, but promised an opportunity to compete for the rotation, he won a spot in the starting five during spring training. In 2008 with Los Angeles, he was largely used in middle relief and performed well there. Happ, who had Saturday's scheduled start erased by a Brad Lidge blown save, is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 appearances this season, used mostly in mop-up or extra frames. He has started five games for the Phillies.
Beerleaguer: It's an easy call, but it could be window dressing if the rest of the rotation can't get it together. After all, we're talking fifth starter, a spot where teams can afford to experiment.
Game preview: As expected, Sergio Escalona survived the off day and stayed on for the trip to Cincinnati, bringing the grand total to eight bodies who will have Hamels’ back. The ace hasn’t needed much support against the Reds, the team he debuted against in 2006. Lifetime, he’s 3-0 with an 0.60 ERA against Cincinnati, including two of his four career complete games. He’s also pitched very well at Great American Ball Park (0.80). Hamels, who looks fully recovered from myriad freak setbacks, pitched a season-high seven innings in a no-decision on Thursday against Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Reds will be without Joey Votto, who suffering from an unexplained ailment that’s causing him chronic dizziness and an inability to focus.
Lineups have been announced and Charlie Manuel is sticking with what works: Rollins, Utley, Ibanez, Howard, Werth, Victorino, Feliz, Ruiz.