Finally, the state secrets were unveiled.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced Thursday that (surprise) Roy Halladay will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Roy Oswalt will start Game 2, followed by Cole Hamels in Game 3.
For Game 4, Manuel said he plans to start Joe Blanton instead of using everyone else on short rest.
"We wanted to set it up the way we had it," Manuel said. "The first three guys, if it goes seven games, can pitch two games. We figure on the fourth day that Joe would fit in that slot."
So, if the Phillies are trailing when Game 4 comes around, will Blanton still start?
"I'm a day-to-day guy," Manuel said. "But at the same time, we have a plan. [Pitching coach Rich Dubee] and I felt that Blanton goes in the four slot for us."
As expected, San Francisco will start righthander Tim Lincecum in Game 1. But lefthander Jonathan Sanchez will be bumped up to pitch in Game 2. Righthander Matt Cain will go in Game 3, and lefty Madison Bumgarner in Game 4. In the division series, Cain pitched Game 2 and Sanchez started Game 3.
If Manuel were to skip Blanton and start Halladay in Game 4, the rest of the staff would have to pitch on short rest for the remainder of the series.
The only real drama was whether Oswalt and Hamels would be flipped in the rotation. Oswalt pitched just five innings in Game 2 of the division series against Cincinnati. Hamels threw a complete-game shutout in Game 3.
The two were kept in their same spots because, as the Phillies indicated earlier, they like Oswalt pitching at Citizens Bank Park. In this scenario, he would make both of his starts at home in Games 2 and 6.
Oswalt has yet to lose in 11 starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Hamels, meanwhile, has struggled in San Francisco. In four career starts at AT&T Park, the lefthander has a 6.12 ERA. In his lone start there this season, he allowed four earned runs in six innings, but he struck out 10.
"I like Cole pitching in AT&T Park," Manuel said. "I like it because of the size."
Manuel said the Phillies almost certainly will add an 11th pitcher for the NLCS after going with 10 in the division series. That makes sense, simply because it's a longer series.
The manager was coy about details, though.
"More than likely, we're going to add a pitcher," Manuel said. "That will be announced when we decide to announce our roster."
Righthander Kyle Kendrick is likely to be the pitcher who will be added. With Blanton moving into the rotation, the Phils will need a long man in the bullpen in case of emergency.
That means either Greg Dobbs or Domonic Brown will be left off the NLCS roster. Dobbs did not appear in the division series. Brown pinch-hit once and grounded into a fielder's choice. Both are lefties.
The Phillies do not need to submit a roster until Saturday morning.
Derryl Cousins will serve as the crew chief during the Phillies-Giants series, his 15th career postseason assignment. The rest of the crew is Tom Hallion, Wally Bell, Ted Barrett, Jeff Nelson, and Dan Iassogna.
Cousins will work home plate for Game 1. In four career starts with Cousins calling balls and strikes, Lincecum has a 4.94 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 13 walks. Halladay has a 3.20 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in eight games with Cousins behind the plate.
Extra bases. The Phillies' workout was canceled Thursday because of rain. The Giants arrived in the early evening. Both teams will work out Friday at Citizens Bank Park. . . . Ryan Howard appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman on Thursday night to present the top-10 list. Originally, Halladay was asked to do so after his no-hitter, but he declined.