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Chess Match: Starter stays or goes?

Chess Match: Starter stays or goes?

PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel left his pitcher in and Clint Hurdle took his pitcher out, but both decisions worked and left little for the second-guessers in Wednesday's Game 1 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Rockies.

Hot on Cole
The situation:
Phillies starter Cole Hamels allowed three runs on three hits with three walks as the Rockies batted around in a 40-pitch second inning.


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The decision: Manuel not only stuck with Hamels, he never even warmed up anybody in the bullpen.

The outcome: Hamels struck out Matt Holliday with the bases loaded to end the second inning and retired the next 12 batters.

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The analysis: "Cole hit a rough inning in the second inning. After that, he ... retired the last 15 of 16 he faced." -- Manuel

'Flash' point
The situation:
Top of the seventh inning, Rockies leading by a run with a runner on second base, two out and Kazuo Matsui up.


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The decision: Manuel replaced Hamels with reliever Tom "Flash" Gordon.

The outcome: Gordon struck out Matsui swinging to end the inning.

The analysis: "It was a breaking ball. I was looking for a pitch to drive, that was my mindset, something I could hammer and I got it." -- Holliday

Francis bats, leaves
The situation:
Top of the seventh inning, runner on first with one out, pitcher's spot up.


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The decision: Hurdle has pitcher Jeff Francis fake a bunt and swing away, grounding out and moving up the runner. Then Hurdle removes Francis at the start of the bottom of the seventh inning.

The outcome: Although the Rockies did not score, the decision to allow Francis to hit saved the use of a position player to pinch-hit for the Rockies, who are carrying 12 pitchers.

The analysis: "We had a Plan A and Plan B. I was not comfortable with some of the matchups I had. I was trying to find a way to roll the dice and do something with Francis at the bat and get us another run and I just didn't want to burn personnel. We went from having 4,700 players to 25, and I didn't want to roll over Manny [Corpas], but I wanted to try to find a way to maybe get him back out there with a two-run lead because the more outs he can get, the less number of outs the bullpen has got to get. So I rolled the dice that way and I got some very good advice from a manager that has done this way more than I have. He said, you get a gut feeling in this thing, kid, roll with it and that's what he said to me. I had a couple different gut feelings today. ... Sometimes they work and sometimes it's indigestion." -- Hurdle

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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