Cory Lidle comes within a strikeout of tying his career high, and Charlie Manuel’s new lineup kept the offense moving, as the Phillies held on to beat the Rockies 6-5.
Last night’s lineup card is one I endorse, with the only change being the platoon of David Bell and Abraham Nunez at seven. Bell has been given enough time to prove he isn’t full-time toast. He’s batting .218 after last night’s 0-fer. Call it a hunch, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the platoon starts tonight, since the manager seems in the mood to shake it up.
Otherwise, the reshuffled deck paid off immediately, with Chase Utley contributing three big hits and aggressive base-running. Utley is in the slot I always assumed he would fill some day. It’s not an ideal spot to collect RBIs, but he’s in better shape to make big plays on the bases. The Phils need to manufacture more runs this way, which they haven't done this season. Batting ahead of Abreu's walks and base knocks, he’ll spend significant time in scoring position.
Batting second, his hitting should flourish as well. By the end of his career, expect Utley to be remembered for good hitting and hard-nosed play first, power second.
Following his two home runs the night before, Ryan Howard also moved up to fifth with Aaron Rowand protecting him in the six-hole. This is the spot I like for Howard, not fourth.
Meanwhile, Cory Lidle has become quite the strikeout artist. Adding 10 to his season total of 27, he’s now seventh in the National League, ahead of pitchers like Brad Penny, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte.
Yahoo!, my go-to source for stats and headshots, finally updated their mugshot archive this morning, including the sun-burned Utley featured above.