Awaiting Ryne Sandberg’s latest lineup shuffle has quickly become one of the more intriguing aspects of the Phillies’ pathetic season. Sandberg has been utilizing different batting orders every day, moving the outfielders around and shifting guys from the top of the order to the bottom and from the bottom to the middle.
Tuesday’s lineup was one of the weakest in recent Phillies memory, with Kevin Frandsen batting third and the rest of the order looking like the Iron Pigs in June, with Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Cody Asche, Darin Ruf and Michael Martinez all starting.
Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins return to the infield on Wednesday, but Hernandez leads off for the third straight game. It appears Sandberg likes Carlos Ruiz in the cleanup spot, as Chooch is there for the fourth time in five games.
Here’s the full lineup behind Roy Halladay against Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann:
1) Cesar Hernandez, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS (4 for 30 last 10 games with eight walks)
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Carlos Ruiz, C
5) Darin Ruf, 1B (3 for last 25 with 11 strikeouts)
6) Cody Asche, 3B
7) John Mayberry, LF (fifth start this year in LF)
8) Roger Bernadina, RF
9) Roy Halladay, P
Halladay (3-4, 7.94) overcame early struggles in his first start back from shoulder surgery on Aug. 25 vs. Arizona, but was taken deep twice last Friday on a hot afternoon at Wrigley Field. He allowed five runs in five innings that day.
Since returning, Halladay’s sinker has averaged 87.9 mph and his cutter 86.5. Certainly not encouraging signs, but he and the Phillies continue to state that they are more concerned with his command and movement and that the velocity will be the last thing to return.
It could just as well be that this is who Halladay will be for the rest of his career –- a mid-high-80s guy.
Halladay’s changeup has been flat lately. Opponents are 6 for 12 off the pitch over his last two starts, with two doubles and a homer.
Halladay has four or five more starts after this one. It is important that he gets into some sort of a groove. If he continues to alternate good starts with poor ones, the Phillies won’t have the necessary information or confidence to re-sign him after the season.