Vacation time came early for the Phillies this year.
Typically, teams don’t have three off days in four days until the All-Star break. But due to two off days on the calendar and a rain out Wednesday, the well-rested Phillies hope there isn’t any rust when they host the Nationals in a three-game set beginning Friday night.
One luxury afforded to the Phillies is they can realign their rotation.
Cole Hamels struggled in the rain Wednesday in a 6-1 loss to the Mets in the only game played since Sunday, but the Phillies want to make sure he, and the other top-line starters don’t have to wait long before pitching again.
So Cliff Lee will go Friday night, A.J. Burnett Saturday and Hamels on Sunday.
Lee will face Stephen Strasburg in a match up that could test the Phillies offense.
If Lee can get adequate run support, he could have success against the Nationals, who are without Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.
The three starters Ryne Sandberg will trot out this series are the best he has, but the bullpen is another story entirely.
Hopefully, the trio of hurlers can go deep into games, as the Phillies bullpen has the worst ERA in the entire National league at 4.84.