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Rays, Phillies getting ready to resume



UPDATE: 8:30: LHP J.P. Howell is the other pitcher warming up with RHP Grant Balfour.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he is mulling 7-10 different matchup scenarios as the teams get ready to resume play in the World Series, and will have a plan "scripted" when the game starts at 8:37.

RHP Grant Balfour will be the Rays pitcher when the game resumes with the Phillies hitting in the bottom of the sixth, and Maddon will decide whether to let him proceed based on the who the Phillies use as a pinch-hitter for Cole Hamels, who is the first scheduled batter.

If they go to a lefty - such as Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, and Matt Stairs - the Rays could switch to a lefty pitcher. But that's not automatic, because the Rays would rather have a righty face the next two Philles hitters, Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. So Balfour could stay in the game initially, and Maddon is hoping he can get the Phillies out 1-2-3.

"We need to get through this first inning,'' Maddon said. "One-two-three is optimal all the time, so we could really use a 1-2-3 first. Because that just gets us to Werth and there's no need for another pitcher.''

That's because the fourth and fifth Phillies hitter will be lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and the Rays would want to use a lefty for them. But the Rays pitcher is the fourth hitter up in the seventh, and Maddon would have to risk using one of his top lefties to face Utley and possibly Howard, then have to pinch-hit for them.

"Our pitcher hitting fourth presents a little bit of a dilemma,'' Maddon said. "The threat is to burn a pitcher for one out in their first inning that you don't want to burn.''

What it sounds like the Rays would like to do is get through the bottom of the sixth, then pinch-hit for the pitcher and make it a double-switch that would involve a new rightfielder - Gabe Gross, Eric Hinske or Ben Zobrst - taking over for Rocco Baldelli.

While Phillies manager Charlie Manuel didn't saw who he will use to pinch-hit, he did say his first reliever would be top set-up man Ryan Madson, and it is expected closer Brad Lidge will be used early.

And if you were wondering, there will be no national anthem performed before the game, but there will be a rendition of God Bless America.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:43am]


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