Phillies-Red Sox (Game 54): Injuries, Absences Test Manuel’s Creativity With Lineup
PHILADELPHIA—Charlie Manuel has penciled 37 lineups for 54 games this year.
His latest, for tonight’s series finale against the Red Sox, might be his craftiest yet.
Without Ryan Howard (rest), Chase Utley (DL) and Michael Young (bereavement list), the Phillies manager settled on an infield of Kevin Frandsen, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis.
Ben Revere will leadoff with Jimmy Rollins batting third for the fourth straight game. This configuration against Boston starter Franklin Morales, a lefty, suggests the days of platooning in center field with John Mayberry Jr. could soon be behind Revere.
Hernadez will bat in between and make his first major league start. Manuel was asked why.
“I said I was gonna play him, didn’t I?”
Manuel said he liked the 23-year-old’s tools.
“He gets some knocks tonight, I’ll probably like him a lot more.”
Delmon Young will cleanup for only the second time this year.
Dom Brown will bat fifth. He’s taken 158 of 187 at-bats from the six-hole.
Some might’ve hoped he’d gone higher. Brown doesn’t mind.
“It’s just a spot,” he said. “I’m in the lineup. I’m fine. I haven’t checked the lineup. Guess I moved up, and that’s fine. Whatever Charlie wants, I’m up for the task.”
The full lineup:
Phillies (26-27) vs. Boston Red Sox (32-22)
First pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Dom Brown’s electric play elevated the Phillies with two solo jacks in last night’s 4-3 win over the Red Sox, putting them within a game’s reach of .500, somewhere they haven’t been since Apr. 14.
But another bad stroke of luck for Boston might be the biggest boost in helping them get there.
Good News: Buchholz Scratched Again
Make out all “Thank You” cards to Clay Buchholz AC joint.
Buchholz, bumped back from his scheduled start in Game 1, was again bumped, this time from his next scheduled turn on Friday, forcing the Red Sox to also bump top ace Jon Lester (6-1, 3.34 ERA) from his scheduled turn tonight.
So instead, the Phillies get Franklin Morales.
Morales, a 27-year-old left-handed starter/reliever tweener, will make his 2013 debut two days after being activated off the DL with neck and pectoral discomfort. In two starts at Triple-A Pawtucket, Morales surrendered six runs in only seven innings, letting all but two baserunners score.
And that was with a .125 batting average on balls in play.
Morales hit 95 m.p.h. on the radar gun in 2012, but that was before the Sox started stretching him out to be a sixth starter option this camp. Expect a dip there. Either way, command has been an issue; Morales has walked 4.46 per nine in his big league career.
That said, Alfredo Aceves worked just fine for Boston in place of Buchholz in Game 1.
Since falling to 6-7, the Phillies have had only two chances to break even.
The first, a 1-0 loss in Cincy in that rain-delayed game.
The next, last Friday’s 5-2 loss in Washington.
Clearly, psyche is a factor here. Extend the calendar, and the Phillies are 1-5 in each of the three-game blocks following get-back-to-.500 attempts. Not to mention the fact that just about everybody in the clubhouse last night conceded the importance of shaking a losing record.
OK. Maybe a little early for this.
But Pettibone (3-0, 3.21 ERA) has been everything he’s needed to be.
He’s yet to surrender more than three runs in a start. The Phillies are 6-1 when he goes.
How he’s pitched over mistakes has been remarkable. Four times in seven starts so far, including each of his last two, Pettibone’s allowed nine baserunners. But his left-on-base percentage this year? Third-highest among rookie starters.
Home runs seem his only real weakness. He’s surrendered six in seven starts. But each have been of the one-run variety. Could be luck. Could be that he’s not giving guys crushable pitches with men on base. Definitely something to watch tonight.
Obligatory Thing About Dom Brown
He's seen the seventh-fewest fastballs in baseball this month. Not much else pitchers can do against him...
Additional Thing About Dom Brown
... Except throw strikes. Brown hasn't walked all month.
Dustin Pedroia: Tough Dude
Little Bit Of Luck’s .332 average, three home runs and 29 RBIs are, by second baseman standards, solid.
That, plus having played every game this year, despite a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb since the season opener, something Pedroia finally admitted last night, makes for some serious grit. Kirk Gibson-approved.
Pedroia’s RBI’d in the first inning every game this series.