PHAIR AND PHOUL: Why didn't the Braves shuffle their rotation like the Phils?

Posted: September 17, 2010

The answer: Some have wondered why the Braves didn't juggle their rotation, like the Phillies did, to get the best possible matchups for the big series that begins Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

Manager Bobby Cox could have flip-flopped Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson to ensure that Hudson would pitch both tonight in New York and Wednesday in Philadelphia, and have Hanson pitch on 6 days' rest in New York. But the feeling in Atlanta was that that didn't make much sense. Hanson is pitching as well as or better than Hudson recently. They might have skipped rookie Mike Minor, but that wasn't feasible with him in line to pitch this past Wednesday against the Nationals. "You really can't do much," Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Every little bit helps: The Phillies will get a break this weekend when they play the Nationals and continue their quest to wrap up a fourth straight division title. Sparkplug centerfielder Nyjer Morgan will begin serving an eight-game suspension tonight (a reduction from what was originally a pair of suspensions totaling 15 games). Coincidentally, that happened immediately after Morgan played in the series against Atlanta in which the last-place Nationals won two of three, just the second home series the Braves have lost all season.

Gimme some 'O': The Phillies have scored 10 or more runs in four of their last 14 games. They had done it twice in their previous 54 games.

A reminder: If the Phils finish with the overall No. 1 NL seed, they have the option to choose to start the Division Series on Oct. 6 and be off on Oct. 7, meaning they would be able to keep their top three on a regular 5-day rotation throughout and not need a fourth starter until NLCS Game 4 at the earliest.

The fill-in: The Phillies are 28-12 when Wilson Valdez, who has been playing in place of the injured Jimmy Rollins, scores or drives in a run. They are 28-29 when he plays and does neither. This note is courtesy of Bob Vetrone Jr., who notices that sort of stuff.

Phormer Phillies Phile: Astros righthander Brett Myers, on Monday, became just the ninth pitcher since 1920 to open a season with 30 straight starts of at least six innings.

Select company: Ryan Howard has become just the third Phillies player to drive in at least 100 runs for five consecutive seasons. Sam Thompson did it from 1892-96 and Chuck Klein from 1929-33. They both are in the Hall of Fame.

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