Phils set rotation for first three games

Phils set rotation for first three games

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have lined up their rotation for the first three games of the National League Division Series, which begins Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Ace lefty Cole Hamels will start Game 1, followed by righty Brett Myers and lefty Jamie Moyer in Games 2 and 3.

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Depending on how the first three games go, the Phillies could tab Joe Blanton as the Game 4 starter, or use him in relief with Hamels returning for that game, if necessary. Myers, then, could be available for the possible deciding Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park.

Milwaukee announced on Monday that Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1, followed by ace CC Sabathia in Game 2 on Thursday.

Manuel isn't concerned who the Brewers pitch, just that the Phillies win. He also doesn't believe the four-game sweep by the Phils in September at Citizens Bank Park has any bearing this time.

"We're starting all over," Manuel said. "This is the playoffs. We have to beat them coming out of the gate and play good against them. We have to win. In a best 3-out-of-5 series, you have to win early."

Hamels was confirmed as the Game 1 starter on Sunday, since clinching the National League East on Saturday meant the Phillies didn't need their ace to pitch on the season's final day. Hamels will be making his second career postseason start. He started and lost Game 1 of the NLDS last season against Colorado.

Myers will make his first career postseason start in Game 2. He tossed a complete game against the Brewers on Sept. 14, completing a four-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park. The right-hander has a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts at home this season.

Myers' second-half resurgence gave the Phillies an acquisition as valuable as Sabathia or the Cubs' Rich Harden. Myers posted a sparkling 1.80 ERA in 11 starts after returning from the Minor Leagues. There is some concern regarding his final two outings in which he allowed 14 earned runs and 19 hits in 8 1/3 innings.

Against the Brewers, Myers has a 1.77 ERA in eight career appearances. As the Phillies' closer last season, Myers didn't appear in the NLDS against the Rockies.

Moyer (16-7, 3.71) will start at Miller Park on Saturday. No one will be more prepared for the big game than Moyer, who pitched the division-clinching game for Philadelphia for the second straight season.

In 2008, Moyer won 16 games, tying Phil Niekro for the most wins by a pitcher beyond his 45th birthday and recorded the most wins since winning 21 in '03. The lefty has a 2.43 ERA in five career postseason starts. He is 10-3 with a 2.92 road ERA in 17 outings this season.

If the Phillies have an advantage, it's that they were able to clinch Saturday, and arrange their arms.

"We've had time to set up our pitching, time to rest our bullpen," Manuel said. "Also, some of our players have been playing regularly. They get a chance to take a break mentally and physically. The time off should help."

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