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Hamels lined up to start NLCS Game 1

Hamels lined up to start NLCS Game 1

DENVER -- Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels will not be needed to pitch Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

The Phillies clinched the NLDS on Monday night with a dramatic 5-4 comeback victory over the Rockies in Game 4.

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But Hamels lines up to start Game 1 of the best-of-seven NL Championship Series on Thursday at 8:07 p.m. ET against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, although Phillies manager Charlie Manuel made no announcement about his rotation.

Hamels, who shut out the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 4, went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts against them in last year's NLCS. He earned NLCS MVP honors for his performances.

How the Phillies set up their rotation the rest of the series remains to be seen, but because left-hander Cliff Lee pitched Monday, he would be unable to pitch Game 2 on Friday -- unless they bring him back on short rest.

Left-hander J.A. Happ and right-handers Pedro Martinez and Joe Blanton could be possibilities to start Game 2. Happ pitched Game 3 of the NLDS on Sunday, so he would be rested. Martinez has not pitched since Sept. 30. Blanton makes sense, but Manuel talked in the NLDS like he wanted him in the bullpen.

If the Phillies don't bring back Lee on short rest, he likely would start Game 3 on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. Happ, Blanton or Martinez could pitch Game 4 on Oct. 19, Hamels could pitch Game 5, if necessary, on Oct. 21 and Lee could pitch Game 6 at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 23.

Happ, Blanton or Martinez could pitch Game 7 on Oct. 24.

Todd Zolecki 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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