May 3, 2011, 2:56 PM EDT
The Phils are back in action after an off day on Monday following their frustrating loss on Sunday night to the New York Mets in extras where the action on the field was over shadowed by world events and the way fans at Citizens Bank Park reacted.
Fan reactions will once again be a popular discussion point surrounding tonight’s game, with Jayson Werth making his return to the spot where he became a WFC as the Nationals come to town for a three game set, but honestly, we’re kind of tired of the “to boo or not to boo?” story lines. If you wanted my opinion, you give him the Pat Burrell treatment: a nice ovation to start and then boo the heck out of him the rest of the way. Pay your respects for what he achieved here, then let him know what you think of the uniform he is wearing. Pretty simple.
Werth’s absence in right field at CBP hasn’t been all that noticeable, with Ben Francisco getting off to a nice start to the season before cooling off a bit. Still, Francisco has picked up plenty of the RBIs left behind in Werth’s former spot in the order. Francisco has 18 RBIs on the year to Werth’s 7 RBIs in a much less potent Nationals batting order. Benny’s batting average is a cool 30 points higher as well, but Werth’s defense may have been missed on a couple of balls Francisco hasn’t played perfectly this season. Werth’s arm is certainly missed in the outfield as well. They both have a pair of stolen bases, but Benny has been thrown out two more times as well.
J-Roll Leading Off
Aside from the return of Jayson Werth, and perhaps of more interest to Phils fans, Charlie Manuel is reinserting Jimmy Rollins into the spot at the top of his order, with Rollins leading off followed by Shane, Polanco, Howard, Francisco, Ibanez, Orr, Schneider, and Hamels.
To me it’s a clear move of Charlie Manuel trying to mix things up in order to breath some life into a lineup that has been hot and cold leaning towards mostly cold. While Jimmy batting atop the order could give J-Roll some swagger, we’re not sure what in the world can help Raul Ibanez get out of his almost record-breaking funk. Is Ibanez done? We’ll stick with Charlie’s approach to let him hit out of it, but it’s not looking promising.
First pitch scheduled for 7:05 from the bank. Have fun out in right field.
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