Monday, February 8, 2016

A lineup shakeup

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Charlie Manuel wouldn't call it a shakeup. We will.

A lineup shakeup

Charlie Manuel made some lineup changes in an attempt to spark the offense. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)
Charlie Manuel made some lineup changes in an attempt to spark the offense. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Charlie Manuel wouldn't call it a shakeup. We will.

The Phillies manager is giving Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco the night off as the Phils attempt to break a three-game scoreless streak. Werth, Manuel said, has been pressing at the plate. Polanco is dealing with some soreness in his left elbow (the same one that has bothered him since mid-April after being hit by a pitch in Atlanta) and Manuel wanted to give the third baseman a blow.

That results in this lineup:

1. Shane Victorino CF
2. Wilson Valdez SS
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Raul Ibanez LF
6. Ross Gload RF
7. Greg Dobbs 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz C
9. Kyle Kendrick P

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It's the second time this season Gload and Dobbs have started on the same day. Valdez is hitting second for just the sixth time in his career.

Righthander Chris Volstad starts for the Marlins and he's been much better against lefties (.652 OPS) than righties (.742 OPS). Manuel has five lefties batting in a row from Utley down to Dobbs.

But at this point, it's less about splits and batters vs. pitchers' history. Manuel is looking for something, anything to jump start this team offensively. If it means making changes for the sake of making changes, then so be it. When you've been shut out four of the last five games, something has to give.

Manuel said the vibes in the clubhouse have been fine.

"Our main guys don’t get down," Manuel said. "That’s good. That’s a good sign. They get mad. They don’t get down."

When asked whether he considered having his team skip batting practice for a mental rest, Manuel snapped at the notion.

"A blow for what?" Manuel said. "That’s why I’m the manager. I listen to my players. I listen to my coaches. But me, I hit everyday. Our teams hit every goddamn day. And a lot. Name me a guy that’s a good hitter and I’ll show you a guy who hits a lot. Seriously."

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