Jul 202010

July 20 Camden Courier-Post

 “Another day, another lineup change for the Phillies.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel used his 55th different lineup of the season Monday after using 68 last season.

While much of it is because of injuries, Manuel is desperately searching for the right combination.

“If we hit on something and find someone swinging pretty good and we get hot, that’ll help us,” Manuel said.

Jimmy Rollins was back in the leadoff spot after Shane Victorino hit first during the series against the Cubs. Victorino was moved down to sixth and Raul Ibanez batted third.

Manuel said he put Ibanez there because he noticed he was 2-for-3 with two home runs against Cardinals starter Blake Hawksworth.

He had Victorino hit sixth because he wants more power toward the bottom of the lineup.

“We’re trying to generate some runs, get back-to-back hits at the bottom of the lineup,” Manuel said. “We’re not producing any runs from the middle of our lineup on down, and that comes into play a lot.”

It’s easy to see why.

Last year, the Phillies had Pedro Feliz hitting seventh, and he drove in 82 runs. Lately, Manuel has mostly been using Carlos Ruiz in the No. 7 spot, and he has 13 RBIs. Wilson Valdez, who has been batting eighth, has just one RBI in his last 35 at-bats.

It might appear that the offense was starting to come around against the Cubs because the Phillies scored 19 runs in four games. But that is misleading.

The Phillies scored four runs in the ninth inning Thursday after they fell behind 12-2. They scored four runs in the eighth and ninth Sunday after they fell behind 11-3. And they scored four runs in the ninth Saturday after they had been shut out for the first eight innings.

In effect, they never scored more than three runs during the first eight innings in any game.

“Pitchers will look for the bottom of our lineup,” Manuel said. “They’ll find it, especially if you have three or four holes down there . . . We haven’t had our game together. We’ve been very inconsistent.””

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