Thursday, November 26, 2015

Grape 24: Yankees at Phillies

Jimmy Rollins returns to the Phillies lineup Tuesday while Charlie Manuel uses a combination that could resemble the opening day batting order.

Grape 24: Yankees at Phillies

The Phillies´ Jimmy Rollins forces out the Yankees´ Ichiro Suzuki at second base on a fielder´s choice. (Matt Slocum/AP)
The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins forces out the Yankees' Ichiro Suzuki at second base on a fielder's choice. (Matt Slocum/AP)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Nine games remain in the Florida portion of the Phillies' exhibition schedule and experimentation will transition into implementation. Jimmy Rollins is back from the World Baseball Classic and atop Charlie Manuel's lineup for Tuesday. The last week or so of games should provide insight into what the manager is plotting for his batting order.

Without Rollins in camp, Manuel tinkered his lineup on a daily basis to see different combinations. Rollins, of course, will lead off on opening day. He is there Tuesday, and this is Manuel's lineup:

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Michael Young 5
3. Chase Utley 4
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Domonic Brown 7
6. Laynce Nix 9
7. Jermaine Mitchell 8
8. Steven Lerud 2
9. Kyle Kendrick 1

Substitute Ben Revere for Mitchell and Erik Kratz for Lerud and that could be Manuel's initial combination. There are moving parts; Young being the most flexible. Manuel has said he could bat his third baseman anywhere from second to sixth.

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In this permutation, Manuel has three consecutive lefties in the heart of the order. With the way Brown has recaptured his power stroke, it could be difficult to move him from the fifth spot, at least against righthanded starters.

Is it riduclous to think Nix could start opening day? He has solid career numbers vs. Tim Hudson, Atlanta's probable opening-day pitcher. In 27 plate appearances, Nix has a .308/.333/.462 line. John Mayberry Jr. is better in a smaller size; he has hit .308/.471/.769 in 17 plate appearances.

For now, this looks like a probable order.

First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: None

Wednesday: Off day

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