What’s the common thread in the Phillies current season-high seven-game wining streak?
Michael Martinez has started all seven of those games at third base. (Thanks to Mike Spohn from the Pottstown Mercury for pointing that out this morning).
But Charlie Manuel is tossing that trend aside in Houston tonight; Kevin Frandsen is making his first start in nine days.
Embattled with a stress fracture in his left shin, Frandsen has made two pinch hit appearances since his last start (on Sept. 4 in Cincinnati).
While Frandsen returns to the lineup, Darin Ruf is still awaiting his first appearances in a big league game, let alone first major league start. Ruf joined the Phillies Monday.
I thought there was a decent chance he got a start in one of the Phillies four games at Minute Maid Park this weekend, in part because it’s a fairly short left field here. (Heck, Carlos Lee used to play left regularly here).
But I’m not so sure when Ruf will get his first call. Here is what Manuel had to say about the rookie slugger before his team left Philly on Wednesday.
Q: Are you waiting for a loss-pressure situation for Ruf?
Manuel: I was thinking about hitting him the other night with the bases loaded if you want to know the truth. I look at that sometimes and think, ‘Ah, that ain’t good.’ Then I think, ‘I would want to hit there. What the hell, I ain’t got nothing to lose.’ I’d want to go up there and get my cuts in.
Q: Why haven’t you used him yet?
Manuel: Because I haven’t see him that much and I want him to get comfortable around our guys.
Q: Is it tougher to use him now that you’re in the thick of the playoff race?
Manuel: Yeah, definitely. At the same time, over in Houston I’ll look and see who’s pitching and I might try to get him in a game over in Houston. I will try to get him in a game if I think it’s OK. I’m definitely not scared to play him. It’s no big deal, he’ll play.
Q: You think his first appearance will come as a pinch hitter?
Manuel: Yeah, there comes a time when you look and say, ‘We need a double or a home run.’ The kid just hit (39 home runs) altogether counting the playoffs. I still think he’s got (40) in him.
PHILLIES at Houston
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Juan Pierre, LF
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- John Mayberry Jr., CF
- Domonic Brown, RF
- Kevin Frandsen, 3B
- Erik Kratz, C
- Tyler Cloyd, P