10/02/08 10:57 PM ET
Chess Match: Lineup flip is genius
Phils' Manuel gets huge payoff swapping Victorino, Werth
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
He flip-flopped Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino in the lineup. On Wednesday, Werth batted second and Victorino batted sixth. On Thursday night, Victorino batted second and Werth batted sixth.The pair was 0-for-6 on Wednesday with three strikeouts and a pair of walks in Philadelphia's 3-1 victory over the Brewers. On Thursday, they were 5-for-7 in their first eight plate appearances with four doubles, a grand slam, two runs scored, four RBIs and an intentional walk. Genius, pure genius. Victorino to the rescue
The situation: After hitting a double in the first inning, Victorino came up against a shaky CC Sabathia in the second. The score was tied, 1-1, one run was already in and the bases were loaded.
The outcome: Victorino hit a slider from Sabathia on a 1-2 count into the left-field seats for a grand slam.
The analysis: "I moved Shane in the two-hole because, first of all, he's had good swings on lefties lately and also during the course of the year, especially lefties that throw pretty hard and also like to keep the ball low and in on him. I think that he hits them good. And I pushed Jayson Werth down in the lineup because I felt he was trying too hard and he was over swinging." -- Manuel
Why pitch to Fielder?
The situation: Top of the first inning, Brewers runners on second and third, one out.
The outcome: Nice thought, but like Brewers manager Dale Sveum's decision Wednesday to walk Ryan Howard with a runner on second in the third inning, it had immediate implications. On Wednesday, Yovani Gallardo walked the next two Phillies to force in a run. On Thursday night, Myers walked J.J. Hardy to force in a run. Bigger trouble was avoided when Corey Hart bounced into a pitcher-home-first double play on the next pitch.
The analysis: "Actually, when I was sitting there, I decided to put him on because it also set up a double-play situation, force situation at each base, and that's just the way I wanted to go there." -- Manuel
The situation: The Phillies led, 5-2, heading into the top of the ninth inning.
The outcome: Lidge retired the side in order on 12 pitches to record his 43rd save in 43 opportunities.
The analysis: "I got the result I wanted last night, too. They're not always going to be easy in terms of the pitch count, but my job is to get it done. I wanted to be as efficient as possible tonight." -- Lidge
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.