May 12, 2009, 6:23 PM EDT
Lineup shakeup – Rollins moved down
To which I say finally. Regardless of how you feel about J-Roll, for all his swagger and an MVP season, he has no right to be leading off for any team right now, much less a contender. Sure, he'll snap out of it eventually, at which time he deserves to resume batting at the top of the order, but until that happens they need to do something different.
Victorino will hit first, followed by Utley, Werth, Howard, then Rollins fifth and Ibanez six (Feliz and Ruiz round out the order). It's a nice spot to move a struggling hitter without embarrassing him while also putting him in a position to do some damage. He's going to get opportunities with runners on base, and he's going to see good pitches while surrounded by those big bats. Let's hope he can take advantage.
Facing: depends which Clayton Kershaw shows up
Last August 12, the Phils got their first look at this lefty who went 6 strong, allowing 3 runs and mowing down 8 on strikes. 11 days later they tagged him for 6 earned in 4 innings.
It's been more of the same so far this season for the 21-year-old. At times he's been stellar, giving up just three runs total in four of his starts. Tucked in between those outings are six and nine run efforts at Houston and Colorado respectively. Difficult to determine what kind of game the Dodgers will get out of the kid, though he's probably ecstatic Pat the Bat is gone. Burrell went 3-5 in six plate appearances against Kershaw, knocking 2 doubles, a home run, and 5 RBIs.
How many more for Park?
Another big night for Chan, coming off that marvelous six inning, no runs performance against the Mets, in the process earning himself at least one more view from the rotation. He's expected to keep that going tonight against a Mannyless lineup, an unbelievable stroke of luck for the Phillies who shouldn't run into the dreads at all during the regular season.
Park is also up against his old mates, but it's no time for nostalgia. There's no way to tip-toe around it, he hasn't pitched well enough yet on a consistent basis to hold the fifth starter job. That said, if he puts together another quality outing tonight, maybe he picks up some momentum and turns it around. We can only hope that last week was the beginning.
A brand new best of seven series with last year's NLCS foe. In the regular season, both clubs swept at home (four in LA, four at home), and of course the Phillies made short work of them in the playoffs, taking the series 4-1. That makes the good guys eight for their last nine over Los Angeles, a trend we would all like to continue tonight.
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