PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Charlie Manuel said he is leaning toward keeping Raul Ibanez in the lineup and Chase Utley in the third spot in the order for Saturday's Game 6.
Manuel had flipped Utley with Placido Polanco for Games 2, 3 and 4 to avoid stacking Utley with fellow left-hander Ryan Howard. He put his second baseman back in his customary third spot in Thursday's Game 5, and Utley responded with a 1-for-4 night.
Manuel knows having his best lefties hitting back-to-back may not be ideal since it allows San Francisco to use specialists Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt without exposing them to a right-handed bat. At the same time, it's the lineup the Phillies have used most of the season, even against left-handed starters.
"I don't see where that makes a whole lot of difference at times," said Manuel, mentioning that Polanco and Utley hit lefties at similar rates. "Another thing, too -- a lot of times when you've got regular players like we've got, you start moving guys in the lineup and things, too, that's kind of like whether you realize it or not, they get prepared and they're ready and they usually think they're going to hit, like Polanco thinks he's the No. 2 hitter. Utley looks at it as the No. 3 hitter, things like that."
Utley hit third 102 times this season, compared to just five games in the two-spot. Polanco hit second 106 times.
Ibanez, meanwhile, was benched in favor of Ben Francisco in Game 4 against left-hander Madison Bumgarner. Manuel, though, liked the veteran's swings in Game 5 enough to feel confident he'd be back in the lineup against southpaw Jonathan Sanchez on Saturday.
"I think Raul swung better yesterday. Of course, he stayed on the ball," Manuel said. "The swing was not real long and out of control. Those are things that will go through my mind and everything like that when I'm sitting there thinking about the game."
Ibanez was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Sanchez in Game 2, and he's just 2-for-15 in the series.
Should Phils advance, Doc wants the ball
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay assured manager Charlie Manuel that he would be ready for the World Series should the Phillies advance, despite the right groin injury he pitched through in Game 5 in the National League Championship Series against the Giants.
"Oh yeah, he made it clear to me [he could pitch]," Manuel said. "He said, on his regular time, he said he'll be ready to go."
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. classified the injury as a "mild to moderate strain" of Halladay's right groin. The right-hander labored in Game 5 through his injury, suffered sometime in the game's second inning. Despite the impairment and with his team facing elimination, the ace delivered six solid innings, limiting the Giants to two runs on six hits.
"It tells a whole lot about who he is," Manuel said of Halladay's performance. "He fought and he battled and he got us right to a pretty good place in the game, where we could use our bullpen and things worked out for us. But that definitely shows what type of person he is. He came here to win."
"I thought he pitched great," Game 6 starter Roy Oswalt said. "I've had groin injuries before in the past. They're tough to pitch with. Especially because you don't get to use your lower half and you have to throw mostly upper body."
Manuel and the Phillies did not know, however, whether Halladay would be available in his bullpen for a potential Game 7 on Sunday night. The team doctors would continue to monitor the right-hander, who threw 108 pitches in Thursday's win.
"I think we'll have to wait and see a little bit, see where he's at and how he feels," Manuel said about using Halladay in Game 7. "That would be hard for me to answer right now."
Manuel finds Giants reminiscent of 2008 Phils
PHILADELPHIA -- Looking across the diamond and into the opposing dugout, manager Charlie Manuel sees a lot of similarities between the Giants and the 2008 World Series champion Phillies.
Manuel said he was impressed by how deep the San Francisco roster is and how readily the Giants' players have accepted their roles. Indeed, 11 different players have started for San Francisco in the series, and manager Bruce Bochy has shown a willingness to double-switch as early as the fifth inning.
"They're a lot like us the first year we won," Manuel said. "[Bochy] interchanges players and they stay real up and they stay after it and they accept all that, and that tells how much they want to win by just watching them."
When they won the World Series in 2008, the Phillies had won 92 games in the regular season -- the same the Giants won this year. Philadelphia didn't establish its typical lineup until later in the season, with Jayson Werth eventually earning the starting spot in right field from Geoff Jenkins. Even then, Manuel effectively platooned Pedro Feliz and Greg Dobbs at third base.
This season, San Francisco's Opening Day lineup barely resembles the one it has now, with midseason additions such as Cody Ross and Pat Burrell taking on prominent roles. Rookie catcher Buster Posey and center fielder Andres Torres have each had breakout seasons.
Manuel remembers his team hitting its stride at the right time in 2008, with the bullpen coming around and Cole Hamels pitching the best ball of his career.
"You can overachieve and you can play hard and things like that for a series or for a month even," he said. "They're hot right now, and they got a lot of fire and they've got a lot of get up."
Day or night, Phillies primed for Game 6
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies aren't concerning themselves with the uncertainty surrounding Saturday's start time, which is currently scheduled for 3:57 p.m. ET. If the Rangers close out the Yankees on Friday night, the game will be pushed back to a primetime start at 7:57 p.m.
"I don't think that's going to hurt us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Our guys are ready. I'm sure the Giants are ready, too."
Roy Oswalt, who will make the start in Game 6, said it won't be an issue.
"You don't really start getting ready until two hours before the game," Oswalt said. "So if it's 4 or 8, it doesn't really matter."
Neither the Phillies nor the Giants worked out on Friday. Philadelphia arrived back home overnight, while San Francisco didn't fly in until the afternoon.
Asked if the uncertainty in the schedule was unfair in any way to the fans, Manuel laughed it off.
"If you want to know the truth, the way our fans have been for the last few years around here, I think that they definitely have an idea exactly when we're going to play the game," Manuel said with a smile. "I think for them to come in and know what time to get here, I think that's going to be fine."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.