10/24/09 7:54 PM ET
Phils expect long layoff to benefit them
NL champs motivated, scouting possible AL opponents
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
The Phillies clinched the National League Championship Series on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, which means they have a six-day break before they play Game 1 of the World Series next Wednesday in New York or Anaheim.
That is a long time to wait.
But is it a concern?
"We've played so many games that it's hard to get rusty at this point," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said after a team workout on Friday.
Rained out on Saturday, the Yankees and Angels will play Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday. If the series extends to a seventh game on Monday, the ALCS winner would have just a one-day break before the World Series. One theory is that the shorter break will benefit the American League champion because it will be sharper.
Of course, that ignores the fact the Phillies had a six-day break last season when they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series in five games.
The allegedly sharper Rays had just a two-day break before the World Series.
"It's not hard to keep yourself motivated and hungry right now," Phillies closer Brad Lidge said. "Everyone is so excited. There's a lot of adrenaline right now and a lot of anticipation, so guys are getting to the field a little earlier and staying a little later. Everyone is different, but there are certain things that work for each guy [to stay sharp]. I know for me I need to make sure I'm playing catch a lot, having a hitter step in there, throwing a bullpen here and there, just keeping myself in the same rhythm that I'm in. But everyone is a little different."
But while many think a layoff could hurt the Phillies, it could help in the sense that the longer the ALCS goes, the less likely the Yankees or Angels can set up their rotation how they would like.
"That would be a good scenario," right-hander Chad Durbin said. "I can't complain if it does. And we get a better look at both teams."
Short rest vs. long rest in the World Series
|2008: Phillies (6 days between games) over Rays (2)|
|2007: Red Sox (2) over Rockies (8)|
|2006: Cardinals (2) over Tigers (6)|
|1995: Braves (6) over Indians (3)|
|1991: Twins (5) over Braves (1)|
|1988: Dodgers (2) over A's (5)|
|1981: Dodgers (0) over Yankees (4)|
The Phillies took Thursday and Saturday off. They held a workout on Friday and are scheduled to have a simulated game on Sunday.
Relief pitchers will continue to play catch and throw in the bullpen to keep their arms strong. Hitters will continue to take batting practice. Some might even study film of some of the pitchers they might face in the World Series.
The Phillies said they would be watching Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday. Some would be self-scouting the Yankees and Angels.
"As a pitcher you definitely want to see what guys are comfortable with and what they're not comfortable with," Lidge said. "That is definitely one way to go about doing some scouting. Just kind of watch on your own and say, this guy is throwing a certain speed and it looks like it's working in this area. But it's fun to watch the games anyway. We've accomplished a lot and right now we get to sit back and watch the games on TV and get ourselves ready. We're anxious to play, no question about it, but we've got until Wednesday, regardless of who wins."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.