While the Phillies' starters have gotten most of the attention, and the closer's spot has been a bit of a merry-go-round at times, it's the eighth inning that leaves the most intrigue between now and the postseason.
Here is the scenario: Cliff Lee goes seven innings against the Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the NLDS. The D-Backs, trailing 7-5, are sending up Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Young and Ryan Roberts (three right-handed hitters) in the top of the eighth. Assuming everyone is reasonably rested, who are you going to?
The choices: Brad Lidge hasn't allowed a run in his last nine appearances, but he's come awfully close at times. The last time Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning was May 31, 2010. ... Antonio Bastardo has been lights out for much of the year, but he's the only lefty in the 'pen and he's leaking oil faster than a BP drilling rig (too soon?). ... Joe Blanton has pitched two innings since May 14. ... Vance Worley hasn't pitched in relief since May and Roy Oswalt hasn't done it since last October. ... Ryan Madson for two innings? Yeah, right. ... Kyle Kendrick? No thanks. ... The wild card may be Michael Stutes, who certainly hasn't been at his best over the last six weeks. But he has the stuff and the demeanor to handle set-up duties. Perhaps some rest between now and the postseason would prove invaluable for the 25-year-old right-hander.