The morning after the Phillies get swept out of Boston, one radio host wondered if the rain would stop once Pat Burrell got a base hit with runners in scoring position.
Unbelievably, the forecast for tonight calls for partly sunny skies. Burrell could sit against Baltimore.
Apparently, Beerleaguer isn’t the only entity taking notice of Burrell's recent slump. His batting average with runners in scoring position with two outs, a measly .051, was reported in more places this morning than the final score of yesterday's game.
Things have gotten so bad, that even the stick-in-the-mud lineup-setter is prepared to do something about it. Charlie Manuel told Phillies.com he’s ready to sit Burrell for two or three games against the Os. Apparently, Manuel believes David Dellucci or Shane Victorino could do just as well standing there with the bat on their shoulders. He said the troubled slugger needs to take his mind off baseball for a while, which leaves girls and chewing tobacco as likely options.
As bad as Burrell has been, he actually played a major roll in two of the last three Phillies wins. The Phillies have lost 13 of 16 games and five-straight series. Two of their wins came with two bench players starting. The last game they won was the 4-2 game against New York, after which the manager was buried for sitting Howard and Abreu. Burrell delivered the big hit in that one. The last game they won with the "regular" starters, including Fasano instead of Coste, was nearly two-and-a-half weeks ago in Arizona, back when the season wasn’t in complete shambles.
Still, sitting Burrell tonight figures to be the best move the Phillies have made in weeks, but in the broad spectrum of Phillies’ problems -- including a team president and general manager who’ve acted as absentee landlords during a building collapse -- benching their guaranteed $50 million man isn’t even a nugget in the fallen rubble.
Manuel must know he’s not coming back next season. In that case, in the words of Phil Sheridan, he should fire every bullet he has. It appears he’s loading his gun. He rode Jimmy Rollins after a baserunning mistake Saturday. Now, he’s sitting Burrell during interleague play, when he could be showcased as a DH to the American League.
Charlie, you may fire when ready.