So, what are the Phillies going to do against the Braves this weekend?

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I love it when people try to make me feel better. Here’s a tweet, sent in my direction from a chap named @Evolution33:

Karma dictates that if the Phillies rest and let the Braves into the playoffs they will pay with a NLCS loss to the Braves.

I
don’t believe in magic, I-ching, Buddha, mantra, Gita, yoga, kings,
Elvis, Zimmerman, Beatles, Yoko or me, but I’d like to think that there
is some force in the universe that will make that happen.

Supernatural
stuff aside, Charlie Manuel does have some interesting decisions on his
plate as the Phillies face the Braves this weekend. The Phillies have
nothing to play for, really. They have the home field advantage. They
really just need to stay healthy and make sure their pitchers are
rested/sharp for the playoffs.  That rested/sharp balance is where the
interestingness comes in.

Kyle Kendrick gets the start tonight
because it’s his turn. Manuel has also said that Cole Hamels will get
some work this weekend, though maybe not a regular, full-blown start. 
The speculation is that will be Saturday, with Sunday being a festival
of relief pitchers.

My nightmare is that Oswalt and/or Halladay
come to Charlie and say that they really need 40 pitches or something in
order to be sharp for the NLDS, Charlie says OK, and Saturday and
Sunday have the Braves facing all three of the Phillies’ big starters in
two games.  The chances of this are very small, of course — Halladay
will almost certainly take the weekend off — but these are the sorts of
things that cause me to pour doubles when a single is all I really
need.

Ah, it doesn’t matter I guess. The Padres are gonna lose at
least two games to the Giants this weekend and render it all academic.
Right?  Anyone?

[please hold me]

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.