The surging Phillies will try to keep their successful homestand going on Saturday. Friday night’s series opener with the Chicago White Sox was postponed because of heavy rain.
The Phils will play a separate-admission doubleheader on Saturday. Game times are 3:05 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday’s regularly scheduled game will be honored at the 3:05 p.m. game. The game had originally been scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Tickets from Friday night’s postponed game will be honored at the 8:15 p.m. game. The scheduled fireworks show will follow the night game.
Rookie right-hander Jonathan Pettibone, who was scheduled to start Friday night’s game, will start the Saturday afternoon game against White Sox lefty John Danks. Lefty John Lannan will start the nightcap against lefty Hector Santiago.
The big question heading into Saturday afternoon’s game is whether Chase Utley will start. Manager Charlie Manuel had planned to give his second baseman a rest Friday night. Utley had started 20 straight games since coming off the disabled list June 21. Manuel had Kevin Frandsen in the lineup at second base Friday night.
“You know, he’s been playing and he’s been running a lot, running, sliding, running the bases a lot,” Manuel said. “I thought it was a good time to give him a blow. And Frandsen can hit lefties. It’s definitely a good time to give him a break.”
Utley is hitting .280 (23 for 82) with seven doubles, a triple and four home runs since coming off the DL, but he’s just 6 for 27 (.222) in seven games on this homestand.
Friday night’s rainout could satisfy Manuel’s desire to get Utley a day off. Then again, it would not be surprising to see Manuel follow through with his original plan and get Frandsen some at-bats in the first game. Frandsen is 10 for 30 with a double, two homers and eight RBIs against lefties this season.
It’s easy to forget because Utley has moved so well this season, but he does have a degenerative knee condition, so an occasional day off can bebeneficial.
The Phillies have won three straight series, two against clubs (Pittsburgh and Atlanta) that were in first place when the Phils played them, and one against Washington. The Phils are 5-2 on this homestand and have pulled to within a game of .500 as management mulls whether to hold on for a second-half run or trade away some veteran talent. These next 12 games -- taking the Phils through July 28 -- will decide which way management goes.
In the meantime, a series win over the White Sox will send the Phillies into the all-star break with a .500 record and a sweep would put them over .500. They have spent one day above .500 this season.
“It would be real good if we could win a series before we go into the break,” Manuel said. “It’s what we need to do, start winning series. If you do that every day, you’re right there, you’re sitting in good position.
“We’ve got to play hard. We’ve got to outplay them. We’ve got to do the same thing against the Chicago White Sox as we did against Washington and the Braves. We’ve got to play as hard or harder. You don’t let up. You stay right at it.”