Whatever Manuel decided, there would have been statistics to back his decision.
Hamels has markedly better numbers in his career when pitching at night, but those splits are far less drastic this year than they have been in past seasons. In his career, he is 15-16 with a 4.27 ERA in 51 day starts and 45-29 with a 3.20 ERA with 98 starts at night. This year, he was 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 14 day starts and 7-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 night starts. One of his most dominant starts of the season came in a sweltering daytime heat in St. Louis on July 22, when he held the Cardinals to one hit and one walk while striking out seven in eight scoreless innings at Busch Stadium.
Hamels also has had some tough outings at AT & T Park, where he has allowed at least four runs in each of his four career starts. This year, though, he had better results in San Francisco (four runs, 10 strikeouts in six innings) than he did against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park (five runs, five strikeouts in six innings). Last year, he pitched a two-hit shutout against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park and allowed seven runs in five innings in San Francisco.
Oswalt faced the Giants four times during the regular season, pitching well all four times. In a 9-3 win at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 17, he allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. His three other starts came while he was still a member of the Astros: at Minute Maid Park on April 5 (six innings, seven hits, three runs, three strikeouts), at AT & T Park on May 15 (seven innings, six hits, two runs, seven strikeouts), and at Minute Maid Park on June 22 (seven innings, six hits, two runs, five strikeouts).
Hamels started Game 3 of the National League Division Series, holding the Reds to five hits in a shutout as the Phillies won, 2-0, to cap a series sweep. Oswalt started Game 2, allowing four runs in five innings of a game the Phillies came back to win, 7-4.
Manuel did not shed much light on his decision-making process.
"We kind of wanted to set it up the way that we had it," he said.
As expected, the Phillies plan to add another pitcher to their roster for the National League Championship Series. That would seem to open up a spot for Kyle Kendrick, who was left off the NLDS roster after starting 31 games and going 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA during the regular season. Other possibilities include righthanders Danys Baez and David Herndon, who traveled with the team despite not being on the NLDS roster.
Joe Blanton is penciled in as the Game 4 starter, so the Phillies could use a long man to replace him in the bullpen.
"More than likely, we're going to add a pitcher," Manuel said.
Such a move would require the Phillies to drop one of the seven bench players they carried in the NLDS, likely rookie outfielder Domonic Brown or veteran infielder/pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.
Manuel said yesterday Brown's speed could factor into the decision.
"That comes into play in the fact that speed also allows at times, especially late in the games, to have a baserunner if you happen to get in a situation where you need him more as a runner than a hitter," Manuel said.
The Phillies have until 10 a.m. tomorrow to finalize their roster.
Derryl Cousins was named umpire crew chief for the series. Joining him will be Tom Hallion, Wally Bell, Ted Barrett, Jeff Nelson and Dan Iassogna . . . The Phillies' scheduled workout was rained out yesterday afternoon. The Giants arrived in Philadelphia yesterday. Both teams will work out today at Citizens Bank Park. *