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Braves-Phils washed out by rain

Postponement puts Philadelphia's pitching in perspective

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies postponed Tuesday's game against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park because of rain. The rescheduled date, which will not be this week, will be announced as soon it is confirmed. 

The postponement does not alter the order of the Phils' rotation. Left-hander Cliff Lee will pitch Wednesday night, while right-hander A.J. Burnett will pitch the series finale Thursday afternoon. Right-handers Jonathan Pettibone, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez would fall in line to pitch this weekend in Colorado.

But the Braves have skipped right-hander David Hale, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday. Lee instead will face right-hander Julio Teheran, and Burnett will face left-hander Alex Wood.

Perhaps a night off will help Philadelphia's starters get on track. They have pitched more than six innings just twice in 13 games, which has placed additional pressure on a bullpen with the third-highest ERA (5.53) in baseball.

Phillies starters are 22nd in baseball in innings pitched, but are seventh in pitches thrown. It is partially why Phils games are averaging three hours, 17 minutes, which is the third-longest average in baseball.

"For me, the game starts with pitching and defense," manager Ryne Sandberg said in his office before the postponement. "I think overall, our pitchers have to establish the strike zone and work ahead in the counts. I think that is a big part in why we're playing the slowest games and longest games in baseball. Every time I look at the clock and leave [the ballpark], it's almost midnight. I can't believe it, but it is what it is.

"Our pitchers are throwing a lot of pitches, so on the starting-pitching side of things, they've been limited on the time that they can be out there. And then we've had to use our bullpen, and then with some of our bullpen guys, it has been the same thing with the amount of pitches coming out of the 'pen."

The Phillies had planned to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, but pregame festivities surrounding the Jackie Robinson Salute were moved to Wednesday, including both teams wearing No. 42 jerseys.

All fans attending Wednesday's game will receive the commemorative Jackie Robinson print, featuring quotes from Phils players and Sandberg on what Robinson meant to them.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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