Results tagged ‘ Ben Revere ’
First, Chase Utley is on the bench. He is hitting .103 this season and .215 with a .610 OPS in 555 plate appearances since May 29, 2014. Let’s see what Sandberg says in the dugout, but if I’m the manager I tell Utley to take a seat tonight and tomorrow night. There is an off day Thursday, so Utley could have three consecutive days to relax and clear his head. Jeff Francoeur said a weekend off benefited him Monday, when he went 4-for-5.
An extended rest has benefited other struggling hitters in the past. It might help. It might not. But it’s something to at least try.
Second, Ben Revere is playing right field for the first time since 2012, when he played 84 games there with the Twins. I think this is a precursor to Maikel Franco‘s promotion from Triple-A, which could happen as early as May 15. Whenever Franco is promoted the Phillies will want him to play regularly. That means plenty of time at third base, which means Cody Asche moving to left field.
He said Monday following an 18-4 loss to the Pirates that he hoped to play his Opening Day lineup at least once before next Monday’s season opener against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. So today’s lineup appeared to offer some clues with the exception of backup catcher Cameron Rupp playing over Carlos Ruiz.
Left fielder Ben Revere and center fielder Odubel Herrera hit first and second, respectively, which made sense.
“It’s a possible combination,” Sandberg said.
Revere and Herrera both offer speed and the possibility of respectable on-base percentages atop the lineup. Revere hit .306 with a .325 on-base percentage and 49 stolen bases last season. Herrera, who is a Rule 5 Draft pick, won batting titles in the Double-A Texas League and Venezuelan Winter Ball. He entered Thursday hitting .328 with a .355 on-base percentage in the Grapefruit League.
“(Freddy) Galvis is another guy in the No. 2 spot,” Sandberg said. “He’s another option depending on that day’s lineup.”
Galvis has hit .218 with a .259 on-base percentage in 550 career plate appearances with the Phillies. He has hit .246 with a .291 on-base percentage in 2,631 plate appearances in the Minor Leagues.
Asked if Galvis has enough hitting ability to warrant the No. 2 spot, Sandberg said, “Playing the game the right way. Setting up base runners, moving the runners and doing some things for the three, four, five hitters. That’s what Freddy has done so well this spring. He fits that mold very well, too.”
But the occasional opportunity to potentially advance a base runner might not benefit the lineup as a whole. The No. 2 hitter in baseball last season averaged 731.8 plate appearances per team. The No. 8 hitter averaged 628 plate appearances.
That is a difference of 103.8 plate appearances in a season.
It is going to be very difficult for the Phillies to score runs this season. Every out counts. So it goes without saying they should have their best hitters at the top, whether or not they play small ball as effectively as Galvis.
Here is a look at the average plate appearances per spot in the lineup in MLB last season:
- 750.4 plate appearances
- 731.8 (-18.6 fewer plate appearances than spot above)
- 716.3 (-15.5)
- 700 (-16.3)
- 684.3 (-15.7)
- 665.1 (-19.2)
- 647.1 (-18)
- 628 (-19.1)
- 608 (-20)
Galvis has hit a bit better this spring. He entered today hitting .288 with a .309 on-base percentage. If he can keep up that pace perhaps some time hitting second works. But if he hits like he has in the past that spot is better reserved for Revere, Herrera or somebody else.
He confirmed today that he plans to use Revere and Herrera in those spots Opening Day.
“As I look at it now he’s left field,” Sandberg said about Revere.
So Herrera, who is a Rule 5 Draft pick, starts in center?
“Probably to start (the season) with,” Sandberg said.
Revere said Sandberg has told him to be prepared to play left field in the regular season.
“I’m fine now,” Revere said about being comfortable in left, a position he had not played since 2012. “I’m just playing my game. Before I got here (to Philadelphia), I played center, left, right, a bunch of times. It won’t make any difference. Of course, it’s different the way the ball goes. But everything else is pretty much the same.
“There may come a time when they may need me back in center. All right, I’ll be ready to go. I’m up for any task.”
- Carlos Ruiz on Monday had minor arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Team physician Michael Ciccotti performed the surgery. Ruiz will begin his rehab immediately and will return to Philadelphia in one month for a follow-up exam. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- Ben Revere on Tuesday had surgery at the Rothman Institute to remove screws from his right ankle. Physician Steven Raikin performed the surgery. Revere will be in a walking boot for approximately two weeks and is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- Cliff Lee on Friday had an MRI on his left elbow at the Rothman Institute. The team said the MRI showed positive results as his flexor tendon is healing well. Lee will begin a full throwing program in November and is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- The Phillies are in the process of scheduling hernia surgery for right-hander A.J. Burnett. The club will have more information once the surgery has been scheduled.
They will look for improvement in the outfield.
Marlon Byrd could be traded. The organization also might move on from Domonic Brown. But what about Ben Revere? He entered Thursday’s series finale against the Padres at Petco Park hitting .306 with 13 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 25 RBIs, 46 stolen bases and a .690 OPS.
Despite a second-half surge, Revere’s .689 OPS as a center fielder ranks 19th out of 26 qualifying center fielders.
“I can say that he’s made very good strides in different parts of his game,” said Ryne Sandberg, who stopped short when he was asked if he views Revere as an everyday center fielder for a National League team. “I think he’s really improved his stolen base capability, a little bit more aggressive. His bat has come alive like we saw at times last year for a long stretch and I think that he’s improved on his outfield play with some added work and a change of the routine. I think overall he’s made improvement which goes a long way with him being an everyday center fielder.”
The Phillies certainly could use more power from Revere, and Sandberg said he thinks Revere has it.
“I actually think that he has the ability to hit 30 to 35 to 40 doubles with the way that he makes contact,” he said. “He’s strong. I think that should be the next thing for him is to hit 35 to 40 doubles in the season, hit in the gaps. We see it all season long in batting practice, there is no reason that shouldn’t translate into games and certain situations with certain pitches.
“It might be a little bit of a mindset change. He tries to hit it on the ground and he really tries to work it up the middle, which I think is the approach that he has probably been told for a number of years. But I think he has the ability to turn on the ball and hit the ball the other way to left center, to right center, down both lines.”
A few thoughts about last night’s 6-2 loss to the Rockies:
- Will we ever seen Ben Revere homer again? He finally homered in the 1,466th at-bat of his career. It was the longest homerless stretch to start a career since Frank Taveras went 1,594 at-bats without a homer from 1972-77.
- Darin Ruf isn’t a savior, but he has warranted additional playing time. Not because he hit a home run last night, but because the Phillies need to try something different in left field and possibly at first base while Domonic Brown is struggling overall and Ryan Howard is struggling against lefties. Brown’s .567 OPS is the sixth lowest out of 169 qualifying hitters in baseball. Putting some historical perspective into it, Brown’s .582 OPS as a left fielder — his overall OPS is lower — would be the fifth lowest out of 558 qualifying left fielders in baseball from 1990-2014. The White Sox’s Alejandro De Aza (.533 OPS in 2014), Seattle’s Mike Felder (.545 in 1993), Seattle’s Brian Hunter (.571 in 1999) and Kansas City’s Chuck Knoblauch (.582 in 2002) are lower. Even if Ruf posts an OPS 50 points lower than his career average of .838, it would still be 221 points higher than what Brown is giving the Phillies right now.
- The Phillies raved about Jeff Manship‘s performance in Spring Training. But Manship still had a 6.42 ERA in 52 appearances over parts of five big-league seasons, which seemed like a pretty good predictor of the future. Manship has a 7.53 ERA in 15 appearances this season. He has made just two appearances with the Phillies holding a lead, which is not a surprise. He joined the bullpen as a long man/mop-up guy. But he has made nine appearances with the game either tied or the Phillies’ in a deficit of three runs or less. In other words, winnable games. Manship has allowed at least a run in five of those appearances, posting a 13.50 ERA in those games.
- Ken Giles is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight appearances with Triple-A. He has allowed five hits, one run, five walks and has struck out seven in 10 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate has plummeted since the promotion from Double-A (17.4 per nine innings to 5.9), while his walks rate has inched upward (3.0 to 4.2). That is not a recipe for success, but Triple-A hitters aren’t squaring up the ball, either. That should tell you something, too. Give the kid a shot. The Phillies have nothing to lose at this point.
Sandberg had a hunch and it worked. Revere tied a career-high with four hits and scored three runs in a 5-3 victory.
“If he’s swinging the bat well and getting on base, he creates something at the top with Jimmy (Rollins) following him, two good base runners,” Sandberg said. “Two good guys at the top of the order. Jimmy’s fine first or second. He’s been consistent all year. For Ben to really give us a push and get on base in a big way, he’s helping us in the leadoff spot. That’s a good spot for him.”
Revere, who hit first for the first time since May 14, hit a leadoff double down the right-field line in the first inning and scored on Chase Utley‘s two-run homer to right to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was Revere’s first double since July 8, 2013, a span of 43 games and 168 plate appearances. Revere singled to score a run in the second and later scored on Rollins’ single to right to make it 4-0.
Revere is hitting .289 with one double, two triples, six RBIs, three walks, 17 strikeouts and a .625 OPS in 153 plate appearances this season.
“Again I broke my ankle last year, surgery, going to have days where it’s going to be sore, it’s going to be good,” Revere said, referring to the July surgery on his right foot which ended his season. “I’m finding my way just to get my groove back and everything. It may take some time because I’ve talked to other guys that had the same surgery as mine. It’s going to be a little bit, but eventually you’re going to get going. Being around this average, close to .300, at this time after the surgery is pretty impressive. People thought I’d probably lose my speed, my timing, no, I feel pretty good.”
Entering Saturday, Revere’s .289 on-base percentage hitting first ranked 26th out of 29 hitters with 100 or more plate appearances in the leadoff spot.
For example, until last night I had been told a base runner on third with no outs and a ball hit in the air should be near the bag so he can tag up to at least try to score. But when Ben Revere did not tag to try to score when Domonic Brown hit a sinking line drive to Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford in the seventh inning in a 2-0 loss, the explanation afterward was that it was OK.
Most coaches or players who saw that play would be puzzled by that answer.
“You know what?” Ryne Sandberg said. “From my angle, that’s a tough call. It looked like a sure base hit, it was so shallow. I was surprised he made a catch on that. That was a tough call. I don’t know if it’s a shoestring catch, if he scores or not, if he does catch the ball. Definitely a big play though.”
Revere said he only tags if there is one out. If there are no outs he is running all the way.
“I was going no matter what,” he said. “The ball just kind of stayed up in the air. I thought it was going to land, and he made the catch with no outs. With one out I usually go back and tag, but, nah, I thought that ball was going to be down for sure off the bat.”
So the play there with no outs is don’t tag up?
“It was like a line drive, so I kind of froze, saw it in the air and that’s when … I was going on contact anyway, and I saw it, and it got closer, I was like, ‘This is going to be down,’ but he came in (and got it),” Revere said. “Usually with one out I go back and tag.”
Sandberg has stressed fundamentals constantly since the beginning of spring training. There have been countless drills. Infield drills. Outfield drills. Base running drills. Asked last night about those efforts and if he has seen enough improvement, Sandberg didn’t offer an answer.
“I think once again, that play right there is a tough call,” he said. “If he’s playing that shallow, or if he traps it, a shoestring non-catch, he’s got to be able to score there. Other than that, the guys battled. Pitching was outstanding tonight. Like I said, we did have three opportunities with two men on and no outs.”
From Elias: Ben Revere drove in a run yesterday in the Phillies’ 1-0 victory over the Braves with a two-out single in the eighth inning. It was only Revere’s second RBI in 119 plate appearances in the seventh inning or later during his two seasons with the Phillies. The first one also was a tiebreaking and game-winning RBI on an eighth-inning single at Citizens Bank Park. It came against the Cardinals on April 21, 2013.
Lannan is on the disabled list with tendinosis in the knee. Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti has recommend surgery, although Lannan first will receive a second opinion from Dodgers physical Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
“I think he ruptured the tendon,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.
Lannan missed two months earlier this season with a strained quadriceps tendon in the knee. He said last week in Atlanta he wanted to get this recurring issue – the knee has bothered him in previous seasons – resolved.
Proefrock offered health updates on other injured Phillies:
- Ryan Howard (left knee surgery): He saw a doctor Monday and will begin baseball activities Thursday.
- Ben Revere (right ankle surgery): He is finally off crutches. “I don’t know whether Ryan or Ben will be back on the field here or in Florida, but the expectation is that they’ll be back on the field somewhere before the end of the season,” Proefrock said. “Whether it’s up here, whether they’re playing in Instructional League, I don’t know. … I think the main thing for both of them is to just get them to the point where there are no surprises in Spring Training next year.”
- Mike Adams (right shoulder surgery): He continues to rehab and as Adams said recently he expects to be ready come Spring Training.
- Mike Stutes (right biceps tendinitis): He is long tossing. “He’s making good progress,” Proefrock said. Proefrock said there is a chance Stutes could be back at some point, although it’s too early in the process to offer a timetable.
- Jeremy Horst (sprained left elbow). He visited the doctor Tuesday. He could begin a throwing program soon.
- Joe Savery (stiff left elbow). He will begin a rehab assignment later this week, most likely in Clearwater, Fla.