About Time: Charlie Manuel Shakes Up the Batting Order in Boston

About Time: Charlie Manuel Shakes Up the Batting Order in Boston

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.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.