PHILADELPHIA -- How is Jimmy Rollins?
It has become the daily question to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and Rollins. Rollins has not played since Sept. 8 because of a strained right hamstring, and the Phillies entered Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park with just 11 games to play before the postseason.
"Oh yeah," Amaro said, asked if he felt optimistic Rollins would be ready to play in the playoffs.
Rollins has been hitting from both sides of the plate and taking fielding practice. He has jogged, but he has not sprinted. Rollins said he does not know what would happen if he tried to sprint. He joked he would not have tried to catch Red Man, the fan who ran onto the field during Monday's 3-1 victory over the Braves.
"As far as him being 100 percent, I'm not sure yet," Amaro said. "Every day is kind of different."
Manuel has said he would like Rollins to face pitching before he rejoins the lineup, but options are few. He could participate in a simulated game or get at-bats in instructional league in Florida, although that seems unlikely.
Lidge rolling right when Phillies need him
PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Lidge has been unhittable for nearly two months, so his performance Monday should not have come as a surprise.
Lidge struck out two Atlanta Braves in a perfect ninth inning to earn a save in a 3-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park. Lidge is 0-0 with a 0.92 ERA and 14 saves in 15 opportunities in 21 appearances since July 31. In 19 2/3 innings, Lidge has allowed just eight hits, two runs and six walks. He has struck out 21 and opponents have hit just .119 against him.
In comparison, opponents hit .198 against Lidge in 2008, when he saved 41 games in 41 opportunities.
Lidge is not throwing as hard as he threw in 2008. His fastball is averaging 91.8 mph this season, according to Fan Graphs. It averaged 94.1 mph in 2008.
So how has he been so effective?
"He's commanding his fastball better and he's throwing at a much better angle," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "Everything, for the most part, has been traveling downhill."
Dubee means that instead of his pitches arriving to the hitter on a flat plane, which allows the hitter a better view of the ball, it has a downhill look to it.
Hitters clearly have not been seeing Lidge's fastball or slider for nearly two months, and Dubee hopes it continues.
Phillies set rotation for rest of season
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have lined up their rotation through the end of the regular season.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Monday that Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay will pitch this weekend against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Dubee said Tuesday that Kyle Kendrick, Roy Oswalt and Blanton will pitch next week against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
That sets up Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt to pitch the final series of the season in Atlanta against the Braves. Hamels and Halladay will be pitching on extra rest against the Braves. Oswalt will be pitching on normal rest.
If the Phillies clinch the National League East before the Oct. 1-3 series at Turner Field, they could rest the Big Three in preparation for the NL Division Series.
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts. Elias Sports Bureau said that is the best five-start stretch for a Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton in 1972. Carlton went 5-0 with a 0.20 ERA in five starts from July 28-Aug. 13, although he had a seven-start stretch from July 19-Aug. 13, when he went 7-0 with a 0.42 ERA. Atlanta's Tim Hudson is the only other pitcher this season to have a five-start stretch with a 0.50 ERA or lower. ... The Phillies earned their 90th victory Monday, which made Charlie Manuel just the second manager in club history to have three consecutive 90-win seasons. Danny Ozark (1976-78) is the other.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.