There were no sure things before the Dodgers manager announced that Vicente Padilla, Hiroki Kuroda and Randy Wolf, in order, would follow Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw to the mound.
For the Phillies, there are still no sure things.
Cole Hamels, a no-brainer to start because it was his turn, will get the ball in Game 1, and Manuel did not announce the rest of the starters, although he gave some hints. He said that Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ would both be available in the bullpen, while Cliff Lee would have to pitch on short rest to come back for Game 2, so that leaves ...
Martinez said before Wednesday's workout at Dodger Stadium that he had heard nothing about his role.
"I don't know if I have a chance to start a game again," Martinez said. "I hope I do, but I'm open to do whatever."
Martinez said he threw two innings of batting practice, and other than that he hasn't pitched since Sept. 30. Martinez also said the BP work was a little "erratic." Manuel, however, said that Martinez could work "75 to 90 pitches, maybe 95, maybe even 100. I think that gets you into the sixth inning or seventh, and I think where we're at with our pitching and everything, I think that would work."
Martinez hasn't pitched a playoff game since helping the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2004.
As for Games 3 and 4, Lee would likely be the starter in Game 3, because that would be his normal day after pitching Game 4 of the Division Series on Tuesday. That leaves Happ or Blanton for Game 4 of the NLCS. Manuel did say that he still views Blanton as a starter, although he also likes what he does out of the bullpen. There is no obvious lefty-right split with the Dodgers, as there was with the Rockies.
So, at this point, it's safe to say that the Phillies still could go a number of directions with Games 2 and 4.
On the other side, Torre had a few choices for his Game 1 starter, but he eventually went with the guy who sold him in Game 161 of the regular season. Kershaw proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a lack of experience was not an issue when the 21-year-old pitched six scoreless innings to help the Dodgers clinch the NL West against the Rockies on Oct. 3. The Dodgers had come into that game in a slump, and the Rockies were threatening to overtake them at the finish line.
"We handed him the ball basically to win the division for us," Torre said. "I don't think there's any game that was more important than that game, so that played a big part in our decision to do this. Plus, he pitched well against the Cardinals. Didn't maybe have his best stuff, but I thought he pitched with what he had very effectively."
For Game 2, Torre picked Padilla, who pitched the best of all the starters in the Division Series sweep of St. Louis. Padilla, a former Phillie, tossed the game of his life, blanking the Cardinals over seven innings in the clincher.
"That was the most he's pitched for us at any time this year," Torre said. "The command was great and his stuff. He has great stuff. Handling the whole St. Louis scene told us a lot."
Kuroda rejoins the Dodgers rotation after missing the last week of the season because of a neck injury. Torre said the Dodgers weren't sure he'd be back this quickly, but he proved to be a fast healer. He threw a simulated game on Tuesday in Arizona. Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt flew out to watch it in person, and came back satisfied that he was ready for the playoffs.
Wolf, the Game 1 starter in the Division Series, goes in Game 4. Wolf had a sloppy outing in his first postseason appearance after 11 years in the big leagues.
That leaves Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland left out for the Dodgers. Garland was in the bullpen in the division series. It's unlikely that the Dodgers would keep both of them in the bullpen this time around. They don't have to set their final roster for the series until Thursday morning.
While all the starters for both teams have been through a pressure-filled hectic time in the playoffs, none of them has anything on Hamels. He pitched against the Rockies knowing that his wife was due to give birth any day. As soon as he got out of the game, after allowing four runs in five innings, he found out she was actually at the hospital. He admitted that he may have been somewhat distracted.
"Just kind of getting that out of the way is a definitely a big stress relief, because everything turned out OK," Hamels said. "The biggest fear of any parent is are things going to be OK? Are there going to be any complications? My wife and I were very fortunate to have a healthy son. Now I can really focus on baseball, even though I was focusing on that to begin with."
Hamels said that he continued working out at the ballpark while he stayed back in Philadelphia during the games in Colorado, and he was prepared to pitch Game 5 in that series. He watched from the ballpark as the Phillies blew a lead, then retook it in the ninth.
"There was a point where I kind had to all of a sudden go into that game mode focus on knowing I was going to pitch in Game 5," he said, "and then in a split-second it all changed, and everything was all happy. I almost felt like I was there with them."