Dubee, the pitching coach, said at the end of spring training that the seventh inning was a work in progress. The Phillies have some young arms they believe in, but are largely unproven in higher-leverage situations. Manuel predicted he would play matchups a lot in the seventh.
He tried that with Romero, who faced a lefty in Brett Wallace. But Wallace hit a hard single to left, and that was the only batter the enigmatic lefthander faced.
In an ideal world, Danys Baez would be the seventh-inning bridge. The Phillies are paying him as such ($2.75 million in 2011), but his ineffectiveness from a season ago has left the decision-makers weary about using him in a tight spot.
Thus, it was Herndon's shot.
"We knew we had Baez, but at the same time, we went to Herndon because we wanted to look at him," Manuel said. "We figure sometime down the line, he's going to have to pitch in the sixth and seventh for us."
Then again, Baez pitched a decent ninth (but still allowed a hit and a walk) to pick up an unexpected win. And Manuel could see him pitching in the seventh if the situation arises again.
"Baez the last two or three times out, he's been better," Manuel said. "His command has been better."
Happ to start
Former Phillies lefthander J.A. Happ, who strained a muscle in his right side pitching Tuesday against triple-A Oklahoma City, will pitch Sunday for Houston.
"Yeah, he'll go ahead and make that start," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He's fine. He feels good."
Happ, who was dealt in the Roy Oswalt trade, left Tuesday's game after feeling tightness in his side in the third inning. Following Friday's game, Happ said he was ready to go.
Cliff Lee makes his 2011 Phillies debut Saturday when he starts the 7:05 game against the Astros' Wandy Rodriguez. . . . The walk-off win was the first for the Phillies on opening day since 1974. Mike Schmidt hit a two-run home run off Tug McGraw to beat the Mets, 5-4, on April 6, 1974. . . . The Phillies did not strike out in a game for only the second time since June 15, 2001. . . . Outfield prospect Tyson Gillies will stay in Clearwater, Fla., as the Phillies' minor-league teams break camp because of a recurring hamstring injury. . . . The Phillies signed infielder Ronnie Belliard to a minor-league contract. He will report to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Belliard spent most of spring training with the Yankees.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Staff writer Ray Parrillo contributed to this article.