It's no secret Cole Hamels has gotten little to no run support on a ridiculously consistent basis when he's taken the mound this season. That shouldn't change Monday against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.
Without a doubt, no one envies the task Ryne Sandberg has in putting the Phillies' lineup together every day. But Monday's has to be one of the all-time head-scratchers.
1) Cesar Hernandez, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Carlos Ruiz, C
5) Kevin Frandsen, 1B
6) Pete Orr, 3B
7) John Mayberry Jr., LF
8) Roger Bernadina, RF
9) Cole Hamels, P
First up is Cesar Hernandez, who performed well for sure in his minor-league duties with Lehigh Valley this year, batting .309 in 104 games for the IronPigs. And in his first game back in the bigs he'll get to square off against Strasburg. Talk about being thrown into the fire.
Then there's Jimmy Rollins, who should always be in the lineup, right? Well, maybe not against Strasburg and especially not tonight. The switch-hitter is just 2 for 16 lifetime against him. And in he's slumping recently, with just three hits in his last 26 at-bats (.115).
The three- and four-spots don't look too bad. And neither does the five, since Frandsen is the only guy on the roster with three base knocks against the Nats' fireballer — he's 3 for 7 with a homer. But then...
There's Pete Orr batting sixth (!) and giving Cody Asche a day off at third. Why not right? Not only is Orr likely a liability in the lineup, he'll only be manning third base for just the seventh time this season (including the minors) with Hamels likely to face a plethora of right-handed hitting.
Then John Mayberry Jr. — the .231 career hitter vs. righties (and .229 this year), Roger Bernadina — facing Strasburg for the first time, and Hamels — who's actually 1 for 2 against Strasburg.
Meanwhile, Darin Ruf (12 HR, 21 RBIs) and Asche (2, 14) will handle bench duties. Ruf also gave the Phillies their lone run in Sunday's loss, but he is 0 for 3 against Strasburg with three strikeouts.
Here's Washington's lineup, featuring seven right-handers including, of course, the pesky Scott Hairston, who's a career .412 hitter off Hamels:
1) Bryce Harper, CF
2) Scott Hairston, LF
3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4) Jayson Werth, RF
5) Ian Desmond, SS
6) Adam LaRoche, 1B
7) Wilson Ramos, C
8) Anthony Rendon, 2B
9) Stephen Strasburg, P