Coming off of their tough series loss in our nation’s capital, the Phillies embark on the first part of a home-and-home of sorts against the Red Sox to close out the holiday weekend. In case you were wondering how the team would respond to its latest letdown, Charlie Manuel finally decided to try something different with the lineup card.
The big changes are at the top of the order, starting with Ben Revere in the leadoff for just the second time since April 17. Revere may have failed his original audition for the role, but he’s looked more comfortable at the plate in the month of May, producing a .377 on-base percentage through 21 games.
Michael Young is in the two-hole for only the fourth game this season. Otherwise Young has been a mainstay in the middle of the lineup, which is perplexing given his dismal power numbers – 1 HR, 10 RBI, .351 SLG – and penchant for rally-killing double plays, leading all of Major League Baseball with 12.
And for the second time in 2013, Jimmy Rollins is batting third. Charlie has experimented with J-Roll there in the past, to little success. He has a .610 OPS in 87 career starts, lower than any other spot one through eight.
It was either Rollins three, or drop him down even further. Revere is getting on base, and as long as he can remain consistent is probably still the logical choice to bat leadoff. You could make the case Young should move down to suit his plummeting average – down to .268, as he’s now gone hitless over the last four games – but Charlie is likely counting on him to bust out of the slump.
Besides, who on this club is so much better suited to bat in the three-hole?
Ryan Howard, Delmon Young (DH), and Domonic Brown are in their traditional Nos. 4, 5, and 6. John Mayberry is in right field and hits seventh, followed by Freddy Galvis and Erik Kratz bringing up the rear.
Obviously the movement at the top is temporary to some degree assuming Chase Utley is on track to return when his 15 days on the disabled list are up. Any mix-up is welcome at this point though, particularly for Young who we’ve practically been begging to see lifted from the heart of the order for weeks.
If the offense shows improvement, some of the differences could become permanent upon Utley’s return as well. Revere has the potential to be a fixture at the top of the Phils’ lineup, and Young’s position clearly has been out of whack for awhile.
Either way, a shake-up of sorts was long overdue. You can only hope Manuel doesn’t go right back to the usual order after this one inevitably doesn’t produce tonight.
Thank you on this Memorial Day and every day to all of the men and women who have served in our armed forces.