Phils taking winning edge into postseason?
Give Chase Utley a breather. Tell Ryan Howard to take the day off. Have Raul Ibanez kick up his legs and chill out. Send Carlos Ruiz out for some ice cream.
But Charlie Manuel doesn't exactly work that way. It may sound very cliche, but Manuel has one objective when he comes to the ballpark every day: he wants to win.
That's it. That's why you'll see the same relievers logging innings throughout September, it's why Utley, Howard, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins and the rest of his regulars - when healthy - rarely get a day off any time during the season.
Charlie isn't going to change, especially not with the playoffs on the very-near horizon. And isn't it a good idea to take some winning mojo into the postseason?
The Phils are 26-7 since getting swept by the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park in late August. They don't see any point in slowing down now.
"We go out there to play baseball to win, every game," Rollins said Friday night. "Charlie isn't going to sit there and let you be complacent. If you don't look like you want to play, he'll escort you out of the game. You go out there and you play the game the right way. You execute and play good defense, get timely hitting and you play expecting to win. The games technically don't mean much, but we know we have to keep going because in a few days the real fun starts, when wins and losses really count."
Although the Atlanta Braves had everything to play for - a playoff spot still on the line - and the Phils had every reason to relax and not risk injury, Charlie Manuel and Co. were 11-5 winners Friday. Rollins led an offensive onslaught with a sixth-inning grand slam.
Don't be surprised if Manuel starts his regular eight players Saturday. All of the available starting position players were in the lineup Friday.
Shane Victorino, who will rejoin the team today, was out of town after his wife gave birth to a son; Placido Polanco rested his left elbow two days after a cortisone shot.
Manuel has two reasons to play everyone: he wants to keep the integrity of the game by giving the Braves his best effort and, of course, he wants to win. The fact that both may keep the Braves out of the playoffs isn't his concern.
"That’s kind of what we plan on doing, why shouldn't we?" Charlie Manuel said. "We've come to play, haven't we?"