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.”

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

The Colorado Rockies laid the wood to the Phillies again Tuesday night. The Rockies hit three home runs en route to an 8-2 win at Citizens Bank Park. The Rockies beat the Phillies, 8-1, on Monday night.

The Phillies have lost four in a row, eight of their last nine and 19 of their last 23 to fall to 15-28.

Two games into this four-game series, the Phillies have been held to just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie Colorado starting pitchers.

Starting pitching report
Zach Eflin had his second straight poor outing. He was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs in six innings. He gave up three home runs.

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

The Rockies got another good start from a rookie. This time it was German Marquez, who held the Phillies to a run over six innings. Rookie Jeff Hoffman held the Phillies to a run over seven innings in the series opener on Monday night.

Bullpen report
Mark Leiter Jr. stopped the bleeding with two scoreless innings.

The Rockies' bullpen has given up just one run in five innings in the series.

At the plate
The Phillies scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk in the third inning. Andrew Knapp homered in the ninth to make it a six-run game.

Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon hit a pair of two-run homers against Eflin. He leads the majors with 62 hits. Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He hit five in a three-game series last season.

Gerardo Parra also homered for the Rockies, who have the best record in the National League at 30-17.

Transactions
The Phillies placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 10-day disabled list with a slight hamstring strain. He is expected to return sometime next week. The team opted for an extra bullpen arm and recalled reliever Adam Morgan from Triple A to take Nava's roster spot.

Health check
Howie Kendrick took outdoor batting practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering an abdominal strain on April 15. He could head out on minor-league rehab later this week and be ready to return sometime next week. Kendrick can play corner infield and corner outfield, so he could take away at-bats from Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders if they don't get going. Both were benched Tuesday night (see story).

Up next
The series continues Wednesday night. Jeremy Hellickson (5-1, 3.44) will pitch against Colorado right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-6. 5.09).

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Having seen his team's offense produce just six hits and one run in the previous two games, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin benched Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders on Tuesday night.

The benchings could last more than one game.

"I'm not going to tip my hand because I don't know what my hand is yet," Mackanin said. "I feel like I have to do something to get some offense in the lineup and there comes a point in time where I'm trying different things.

"At this level you've got to produce. You want to play, you've got to hit and they have to understand that. Nobody is here on scholarship."

Franco and Saunders opened the season hitting fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Phillies' batting order.

Entering play Tuesday, Franco was hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage.

Saunders was hitting .227 with a .273 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage.

Franco was leading the team with 28 RBIs and tied for second with six homers, but his inconsistency and inability to harness his free-swinging approach was wearing on Mackanin. Franco swung wildly at breaking balls on Monday night and struck out twice. The 24-year-old third baseman has worked hard on developing a more disciplined approach with hitting coach Matt Stairs, but has been unable to consistently incorporate those adjustments into his game.

Mackanin said he was surprised by Franco's consistent struggles. He hoped the benching would take some pressure off the player.

"Befuddled is a good word," Mackanin said. "As much as he works in the cage and on the field in batting practice and does it right, when he gets in the game his head is still flying and his bat is coming out of the zone.

"You've heard me say this many times: Hitting is like riding a bike. I can't teach you to keep your head in there. I can tell you to do it, but you have to do it on your own and he's got to figure it out. Guys have to figure it out. They have to figure out how to get the job done. Whether it's cut down on your swing, choke up, use a different bat, use a different stance, do something different. If you make outs the same way over and over, it's not going to change."

Andres Blanco started at third base in place of Franco and Ty Kelly was in the lineup in left field with Aaron Altherr moving into Saunders' spot in right.

Quite notable was that on the same day that Franco and Saunders went to the bench, Howie Kendrick ramped up his rehab from an abdominal strain. He took batting practice outdoors for the first time since the April 15 injury. He could be ready for a minor-league rehab assignment later this week and be ready to play in the majors next week. Kendrick can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots, so he could push Franco and Saunders for work if he hits and they continue to struggle.