Manuel Stays Focused On Game 5

(Photo: Getty Images)

Charlie Manuel talked to the media Tuesday afternoon and talked about how his team made it through Part One of Game 5 and what he's thinking about as the Phillies head to Part Two of Game 5.

As things stand now, Charlie Manuel is taking a philosophical approach to continuing Game 5. "We've got three and a half innings of baseball, we get to bat four times, they get to bat three. We get twelve outs and they get nine," said Manuel when asked how he was approaching the suspended game.

If the Phillies are more successful in their four at bats than the Rays are in their three, the Phillies will celebrate a belated World Series Championship for the first time in 28 years. If not, then the series heads to Tampa Bay with the Phillies holding a 3-2 advantage in games.

Manuel's philosophy is to think first and foremost about the task at hand and not worry about what's waiting - or might be waiting - around the bend. With that in mind, he plans on sticking with his rotation and will turn to his bullpen when Game 5 resumes at 8:37 p.m. Wednesday night.

"We've got three innings to go, and I think our bullpen can definitely do the job. I'm not looking ahead for the following game, but at the same time we've got to set up where our starters are in line," explained Manuel.

Speaking of having his starters set up, pushing the continuation of Game 5 back to Wednesday would give the Phillies the opportunity to consider bringing Cole Hamels back for a possible Game 7 on three days rest. "We don't need to talk about Hamels' situation yet because we're looking forward to playing tomorrow," said Manuel. It would also give them the option of using Joe Blanton for Game 7 on his regular rest, if they opted to take Jamie Moyer out of that spot.

While Manuel insists that he'll use his bullpen for Game 5 when it continues, he could conceivably turn to Brett Myers. With the potential of the game heading to extra innings and the possibility of two more games in the series, turning to Myers would help to prevent burning out his bullpen. Myers has also had more success pitching at home this season than he has on the road, which is where he would make his next start (Game 6, if Manuel sticks to the rotation). And, Myers has also had experience coming out of the bullpen, although this would still be much more like a starting assignment than a relief appearance.

It's worth noting, that weather forecasts for Wednesday night aren't extremely encouraging right now. The Weather Channel is calling for a 30% chance of showers starting around 4 p.m. Wednesday in Philadelphia and continuing for much of the night. Another postponement could change Manuel's way of thinking for his pitching assignments.

With the series having been pushed back an extra day, a scheduled off day that would have taken place Tuesday between Game 5 and 6 will now be erased. "Basically right now I know nothing about pushing for a day off," said Manuel, who prefers to simply play through, should future games become necessary.


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