For just the second time this season, Charlie Manuel has filled out a lineup card that does not include Chase Utley nor Jimmy Rollins. The manager's entire middle infield is missing.
To compensate, Manuel will start normal third baseman Placido Polanco at second base again, for the fourth straight game. That leads to a slightly unusual left side of the infield: Greg Dobbs and Wilson Valdez, both of whom have spent time as Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2010.
In fairness, Dobbs is swinging a better bat during July. He's batting .318 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Valdez, not so much. He has hit into more double plays this month (three) than he has RBIs (two).
But funny how things can change, as a few Phillies players have mused to me lately. The team is on a five-game winning streak, tied for its longest this season. The Braves have slipped somewhat, leaving the Phillies 4 1/2 back even after what felt like a debilitating road trip.