Manuel decides to sit Stairs, who's struggled vs. Rays' Shields
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Greg Dobbs took his place as the Phillies' designated hitter for Game 2 of the World Series, providing Philadelphia with an extra left-handed bat against Rays right-hander James Shields.
Most of the Phils' lineup looked like it has for much of the postseason. Jimmy Rollins led off, Jayson Werth batted second and Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell made up the heart of the order. Shane Victorino was in the six hole, followed by Dobbs, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz.
Dobbs won out as the DH over Matt Stairs, who seems perfectly suited for the job, but has struggled against Shields, going 3-for-20. One of the three hits was a home run on July 28, while Stairs played for Toronto.
Manager Charlie Manuel again wrestled with defense over offense, as he considered playing Dobbs at third base for Feliz and using Stairs at DH, giving him an additional left-handed bat.
Game 2 lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Jayson Werth
3. Chase Utley
4. Ryan Howard
5. Pat Burrell
6. Shane Victorino
7. Gregg Dobbs
8. Pedro Feliz
9. Carlos Ruiz
But Feliz's strong defense -- he turned a bad-hop grounder from B.J. Upton into a third-inning, rally-killing double play -- swayed the manager's decision. Dobbs also hasn't played on artificial turf in more than two seasons.
"I thought about playing Dobbs at third base and DHing Matt," Manuel said. "He's 3-for-11 off this guy with a home run, and is 3-for-20 career-wise. Then I thought about the field, I thought about my defense. I thought about the fact that Feliz played well [Wednesday] night and Dobbs hadn't played on turf in two years. I wanted Feliz playing third base.
"With the turf and the quickness of the field, I wanted Feliz in there," Manuel said. "And Feliz had a couple of hits [in Game 1]. Also, this leaves my bench intact, so if we get behind and I want to hit for someone in the bottom of the lineup, I have Stairs and [Geoff] Jenkins sitting there."
Aside from the DH choice, the only wrinkle of note was the placement of Victorino and Werth. Often this October, Victorino has batted second and Werth sixth against right-handers, with Thursday's configuration used more often against lefties.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.