Phillies move struggling Revere out of leadoff spot

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Phillies move struggling Revere out of leadoff spot

Charlie Manuel had been thinking about it for a few days. After Ben Revere went 0 for 12 in the Reds series, he didn’t have to think about it any longer.

Revere is out of the leadoff spot for the Phillies, and Jimmy Rollins is back at the top of the order.

For now. Maybe for much longer.

Revere, who has hit leadoff in all 15 of the Phillies’ games so far, is hitting seventh in Manuel’s lineup against the Cards Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park, the first game of an eight-game homestand.

After hitting .259 in the Phils’ first six games, Revere is hitting just .143 (5 for 35) over the last nine games.

“I talked to Charlie when I came to the field, and he’s like it’s something that we’re going to try a little switch-up and we’ll see how it works,” Revere said at his locker before the game.

“He told me, ‘I’m not giving up on you. I know you’re a good hitter and everything.’ I hit down there before, it’s no biggie. I’m struggling a little bit but trying to figure out that swing and figure out these pitchers and I’ll be rolling real soon.”

The Phillies scored just 10 runs in their six-game road trip, going 2-4 to fall to 6-9 this year.

It’s not like Rollins is tearing the cover off the ball himself. He was 1 for 18 on the road trip, his averaging dropping from .316 to .232.

But Manuel felt like he had to do something, and he doesn’t have that many options.

“How can you score runs if you don’t put yourself in position to score runs?” he said. “You are going to go through periods when you aren’t scoring runs. When you are putting yourself in position not to score runs, you don’t want that to go on for a long time.”

Revere, 24, hit .294 last year with the Twins and then hit .326 with five doubles in spring training. But since a three-hit game against the Royals on April 7, he has just five hits.

“He’s hitting most of his balls on the infield,” Manuel said. “If you remember, he stung some balls in spring training. At the same time, too, spring training is different. When the bell rings, big-league pitchers, he’s getting to see some No. 1s and 2s and 3s and 4s and 5s, stuff like that.

“He’s not getting to see any guys who are trying to make the team and are Double A or Triple A pitchers and things like that. That’s a whole new ball of wax when the bell rings.”

Revere, who spent his first three seasons with the Twins, said he didn’t want to make any excuses for his slump but said it’s been difficult getting adjusted to National League pitchers.

“One of the best hitters, [Albert] Pujols, kind of struggled last year in the AL with the Angels. It’s just learning new pitchers [who] pitch you differently. You’ve got to switch up to a new game plan.

“I’ve been watching film with [hitting coach] Steve Henderson, and I kind of found out what I’ve been doing wrong since spring training.

“I haven’t been swinging the way I had been swinging in spring training, just kind of been going back to the film and seeing what I’m doing and kind of been working some drills today, and I feel a lot better right now swinging in the cage.”

With Domonic Brown out with back soreness, Manuel’s lineup Thursday night has Freddy Galvis playing left and batting second, followed by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Michael Young, John Mayberry, Revere, Erik Kratz and Cole Hamels.

“I talked to [Revere] and told him I wanted to drop him down in the order, relax him and get him going,” Manuel said. “I told him our lineup is never set. It’s not like he won’t be back in the leadoff hole at some time or hitting second at some time. That’s definitely. I want to put him down there, give him some time and relax.”

Revere started out strong last year -- he was hitting .331 as late as Aug. 6 -- but hit .236 the rest of the way.

“I think Ben's going to be fine,” general manager Ruben Amaro said. “I think Charlie's just trying to shake things up, get things going. I don't blame Charlie for making these kind of changes.

“Ben's been struggling, Jimmy's been struggling but he's had success in the one-hole. I think Ben's going to be fine. I think he just needs to start swinging it. Just like a lot of other guys, he's been struggling.”

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

NEW YORK — The final eight games remaining on the Phillies’ 2016 schedule will undoubtedly serve as a farewell to Ryan Howard.

Lost in the background may be the fact this week could quite possibly be the end for the man who was supposed to platoon alongside him this year, as well: Darin Ruf.

Both men have been supplanted by Tommy Joseph, who's hit 21 home runs in just 100 games this year while positioning himself as the Phillies first baseman of the near future.

Ruf will start Saturday night against Mets’ lefthander Sean Gilmartin. The Phillies are not scheduled to face a lefty starter for the rest of the season, so Saturday could be one of the final chances to see Ruf in a Phillies uniform, especially considering manager Pete Mackanin’s stated intent to give Howard more playing time down the stretch.

“It seemed like we never faced a lefty for the first month of the season. So that didn’t help Ruf at the time,” Mackanin said.  “Joseph entered the picture and made an immediate impression.”

Ruf’s departure from the majors set the stage for Joseph’s immediate emergence. At the time of his May 13 demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley – and Joseph’s promotion -- Ruf was had a .158/.206/.193 slash line.
  
Since his Sept. 1 return to the majors after rosters expanded, Ruf has done what he can to make sure his possible final season in a Phillies uniform ends on a high note. On Friday night, he drilled a home run to left center off Mets reliever Josh Smoker in pinch-hit duty, the first time Ruf had gone yard since Oct. 1, 2015.

“It felt good,” Ruf said about ending his home run drought. “You just try to simply things and last night it worked out for me.”

Where Ruf will be next year is a more complicated matter, as the 30-year-old is out of minor league options. Japanese scouts were spotted at the games he played for AAA Lehigh Valley.

With Lehigh Valley, Ruf received an opportunity he’s never truly been able to get with the Phillies due to the longstanding presence of Howard: a chance to play every day and consistently accumulate plate appearances. He hit .294/.356/.529 in 390 trips to the plate for the IronPigs. 

Ruf has never made more than 300 plate appearances in a major league season and would struggle to crack that number if he remains in Philadelphia as a backup to Joseph, who will still be 25 on opening day next year.

“I learned [this year] that you can’t take anything for granted in this game,” Ruf said. “You’ve just got to keep working to get better every day, got to put up numbers no matter where you’re at in order to get to where you want. 

“Hopefully, wherever I’m at next year, I can do that.”

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Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Jorge Alfaro is behind the plate for the Phillies tonight and bats eighth. Alfaro has appeared in just four games since being called up earlier this month, and has just one hit in 10 at-bats. 

Tommy Joseph is back in the lineup and batting fifth. Pete Mackanin has said that Ryan Howard would get a lot of playing time during the last few games, but it is Joseph who gets the start tonight. Joseph is batting just .154 against the Mets this season. 

Odubel Herrera, who has been hitting well in September, will remain in the three spot. He has two homers and is batting .391 over the past week. Herrera has two hits in six at-bats against Mets' starter Sean Gilmartin. 

Phillies

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, RF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF 
4. Maikel Franco, 3B 
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Darin Ruf, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Alec Asher, P