Following Sunday's 3-2 loss to Atlanta, a game in which John Mayberry Jr. produced the only offensive highlight, skipper Charlie Manuel said he'll "keep experimenting until we get people" to help the struggling offense.
Beerleaguer: More Mayberry. And Cholly appears to be leaning that way. From Phillies.com: "I've always had him in mind, to try to give him some playing time," Manuel said of Mayberry. "The better he does, the more playing time he'll get. That's what happened to Jayson Werth, Howard and Victorino. That's how they became regulars for us. Play good enough and you can win a job, you can move anybody."
The problem is the Phils are playing "wait-and-see" at both corners, where Raul Ibanez has picked it up just enough lately to buy himself more time, and Ben Francisco, who was given the full-time opportunity out of spring training, probably deserves at least a little more time to sink or swim. He's presently sinking, to the tune of a 2-for-28 in his last 12 games. There's also Ross Gload, who's productive when he plays, but carries a lot of value on the bench. There are certainly a couple of looks to choose from. Michael Martinez should factor into none of them, however.
With power being at a premium, Mayberry may have done himself a huge favor by belting a two-out homer off the right-handed starter Tim Hudson Sunday. He also walked twice, tracked a tough ball in the gap in right and stole a base. He was, by far, the best player on the field for the Phils.
At some point, Manuel needs to stop spreading it around, especially to a guy like Martinez. More and more, I wish the Rule 5 pick wasn't in the picture. They need to inject the most power possible into the lineup, period. Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino are the only two qualifying regulars who rate above league average in isolated slugging; Mayberry would be there too if he had enough at bats to qualify.
Add in an above-average glove and speed. Perhaps the answer is right under their noses. He has flaws, to be sure, be the Phillies can't know whether those holes are gamebreakers unless he plays. It's up to Manuel to get the best out of this mix. Maybe this minor injury to Victorino will be the break Mayberry and the Phillies needed.