WASHINGTON - Before Tuesday's game, the Phillies informed Major League Baseball that they want to begin the postseason a week from Wednesday, an option given to the team with the league's best record.

The Phillies know whom they will start in that Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park.

"Yeah," Charlie Manuel said. "I'll ask Dubee if we want to announce it first."

A few feet away, Rich Dubee, the pitching coach, stood and listened.

"Dubee, do you want to announce it?" a reporter asked.

"No," he said.

"Yeah, we know," Manuel chimed in. "We'll announce it when we announce it."

Well, all signs point to Roy Halladay as the guy. Dubee said "there's a real good chance" Halladay does not make another start in the regular season. The righthander was scheduled to pitch Saturday in Atlanta, which would have put him on three days rest for Wednesday's playoff opener.

The Phillies could have let Halladay make an abbreviated start that day. Instead, they will likely have him throw a few bullpen sessions in the eight days he will have off between starts.

"Two-hundred-fifty innings is the main reason," Dubee said. "You don't see too many guys with 250 innings under their belt."

Halladay eclipsed the 250-inning mark on Monday, the seventh time a pitcher has done it in the last decade. (Halladay also threw 266 innings in 2003.)

Dubee said he discussed a plan with Halladay. The Phillies' ace has never pitched in the postseason, and the team has expressed some concerns in the last few weeks about his workload.

"If we're going to use him in Game 1," Dubee said, "it's pretty hard to pitch him again."

Instead, Kyle Kendrick will start Friday for the Phillies, and the pitchers for the final two games of the season are to be announced, Dubee said. Figure Cole Hamels probably starts one of the games and pitches for a few innings. Roy Oswalt also could make an abbreviated start in the final weekend, or the start could go to rookie Vance Worley.

The team happiest to hear this news is probably the Braves, who will go into the final weekend fighting for their postseason lives. The Phillies are likely to help by resting plenty of regulars.

Beyond the possibility of Halladay's starting Game 1 of the division series, Dubee declined to specify any more details about his postseason rotation. The Phillies could split up their righties - Halladay and Oswalt - by pitching Hamels in Game 2.

"We'll see," said the intentionally cryptic pitching coach.

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb
at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.
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