A New Look Lineup for the Postseason?

Charlie Manuel introduced a new look lineup for this afternoon’s series finale against the Mets. It’s a lineup he said he expects to try more than once:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Chase Utley, 2B
  3. Hunter Pence, RF
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Shane Victorino, CF
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Placido Polanco, 3B
  8. Carlos Ruiz, C
  9. Roy Halladay, P

Manuel has moved Utley out of the three-hole and replaced him with Pence. This is a relatively significant change because over the years Utley has been the team’s regular No. 3 hitter. I like it. It’s something I’ve thought Manuel should have tried earlier, although he hasn’t had much of an opportunity considering this is just the second time since Aug. 6 he has had his everyday lineup together. Utley simply hasn’t been a No. 3 hitter. His .765 OPS is the lowest since 2003, when he played just 43 games as a rookie. His OPS ranks 49th out of 95 players in the National League with 400 or more plate appearances. Utley has just 41 RBIs in 381 at-bats. According to Baseball Prospectus, his 11.4 RBI percentage is 204th out of 249 players with 300 or more plate appearances. That tell us Utley simply isn’t taking advantage of RBI opportunities like he has in the past.

“That’s our best balanced lineup,” Manuel said. “It splits up our lefties. Victorino being a switch-hitter in the five-hole, I like. I think that helps. Utley can hook the ball in the hole and he’s got a high on-base percentage when he’s playing good. He walks, things like that. Team player. Pence is a .300 hitter. Got power. I want to put this lineup on the field and let it play and see. I like it. It gives us more balance.”

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14 Comments

What ever works, Charlie!!!

Utley should have been moved out of the 3 hole. He should not have been moved up. The top of the lineup needs to get on base for Howard and Pence. Vic is much more likely to get on base. Utley should be batting 6th.

moving Utley up allows him to use his skill without worrying about power or RBIs. His OBP is always good (Though I’m sure Mule will give us a complete 5 year comparrision) and allow Pence/Howard/Shane to hit. They can’t bring in lefty to get #’S 3-4 or 4-5 as they go R/L/S. only change I’d think about is switching Ruiz and Polly-especially the way Chooch has been hitting lately

Even though it appears to be working at the moment, i don’t know why he moved Vic to 5th. He already tried this earlier in the season and it failed miserably. They acquired Pence specifically to bat behind Howard and now they’re scrapping it for no reason. Makes no sense, but i guess you do crazy things when you lose 8 in a row.

i really like this lineup- so i hope it works!!!!

Well….it worked!

Three more games to test run the lineup. So far, so good. And Doc was Doc.

I really doubt there is much difference between Pence and Vic, other than the switch hitting thing. Both are having great years at the plate and have remained more or less hot even through this horrible 10-game stretch. Both protect Howard in the 5 hole. Maybe they need a live chicken….

I like it a lot. I’ve always thought that batting Utley/Howard together made the opposing manager’s job a bit simpler. Splitting them up around Pence makes the opposing manager’s decision-making much more of a problem, especially given how well Pence and Vic are hitting. Howard will now see more better pitches. Can’t pitch around him quite so much.

Yeah, batting Utley and Howard together was a big help to opposing managers. Let’s see, World Serires win in 2008, World Series in 2009 and 5-straight division titles. Sure.

It can’t hurt splitting Utley and Howard up at this point, muleman. It certainly will affect the opposition’s thinking when going to the bullpen.

Love Chooch with the high socks and black “eyeliner” Seems to be working for him. Glad they finally got a “W”. Hopefully it continues in Atlanta. Amazing WC races in both leagues. Makes the end of the season a bit more interesting.

and then we remember last year against the Giants, Mule. All they did every game was bring in a lefty in late innings against Howard and Utley

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