Results tagged ‘ Charlie Manuel ’
Should Charlie Manuel split up Chase Utley and Ryan Howard? Should Michael Young hit second, third or fifth? Should Ben Revere hit high or low? Should Jimmy Rollins hit lower to take advantage of his power?
The Rollins-Revere discussion is an interesting one, but very few people in Philadelphia have seen Revere play on a consistent basis to know exactly what he brings to a lineup. In fact, Manuel has said the same thing: he needs to see Revere play more before he makes any decisions about his spot in the order. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has seen Revere play. He managed him before the Twins traded him to the Phillies in December for Vance Worley and Trevor May.
I asked him before today’s game in Fort Myers if Revere has potential as a leadoff man.
“Well, it depends,” Gardenhire said. “He’s a .300 hitter. He didn’t walk a lot. He didn’t take a lot of pitches. But the kid can put the barrel on it. He finds different ways to get on, whether it’s dropping a drag bunt, he outruns balls. The walks … I think as he gets more experience he’ll probably learn to take a few more pitches here and there. And if they ask him to do that, Ben can do that. But Ben likes to swing.”
Domonic Brown assessed the first 492 plate appearances of his Phillies career this way today at Bright House Field:
“That stuff I’ve been doing in the big leagues — that’s not acceptable in my eyes.”
That stuff he has been doing in the team’s first four Grapefruit League games? That could earn him a starting job in the Phillies outfield. He crushed a solo home run over the batter’s eye in center field in the seventh inning in today’s 4-3 victory over the Yankees at Bright House Field. Brown is hitting .429 (3-for-7) with two home runs, two RBIs and one strikeout this spring.
Brown said he has added 10 pounds of muscle, which might be why he is showing a little more power at the plate.
“Eating better,” he said. “I’m getting better checks so I can eat better. It feels good to be healthy again. … Lot of core and legs this winter because of the knee injury. I think I’m stronger down there and that might be why I have a pretty good base.”
Brown is going to get every opportunity to win a job this spring, especially with Delmon Young expected to open the season on the disabled list. He has taken advantage of the opportunity to this point.
“What you see is what he can do,” Charlie Manuel said. “His swing is more fluid and compact. It’s more explosive.”
And Manuel thinks if Brown can just find that consistency he has lacked in the big leagues, he could fulfill the potential that made him an untradeable prospect in the past.
He thinks he could become a game changer in the Phillies lineup.
“He’s that kind of guy,” he said. “Yeah, he is. Without a doubt. When you see him hit balls like that in the last three or four days. He’s swung the bat good. When I see him rip balls to right field, balls inside, it shows he’s strong. He’s got quick hands. He’s getting through the ball.”
Said Brown: “I’m just keeping it simple. Just going up there and making sure my approach is good. I’m seeing the ball well and trying to swing at strikes. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed approach, just fine tuning. That’s it. … I making sure I’m going out there and working hard and not putting pressure on myself and having fun and doing it because I want to do it like Chuck always says. I’m out there because I want to do it, not because they’re forcing me to do it.”
Remain calm, all is well.
Chase Utley got scratched from today’s lineup just minutes before a 4-3 victory over the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at Bright House Field. Hearts skipped a beat in the Delaware Valley as Utley has missed the previous two springs because of chronically injured knees.
But it wasn’t an injury that removed Utley from the lineup.
It was wet field conditions.
The field received a ton of rain before the game and the infield tarp was dumped in shallow right-field, which obviously is where Utley could be chasing down a pop up. So Charlie Manuel decided to play things safe and sit him.
Told he gave folks a scare, Manuel said, “What’s new? I give them a scare all the time. Knee jerk. Chicken Little. The world is coming to an end. I see it every day. You know? How many games have we played? I see it all the time, even when you win.”
Utley, who played in today’s intrasquad game, will play in his first Spring Training game since 2010. He missed the previous two because of bad knees. Ryan Howard, who missed last spring following left Achilles surgery, also will be in the lineup.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel’s lineup looks like this:
- Ben Revere, CF
- Michael Young, 3B
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Darin Ruf, LF
- Domonic Brown, RF
- Laynce Nix, DH
- Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
- Erik Kratz, C.
Hmmmm … I think he gets an ‘A’ because in my opinion, wins and losses are the only things that matter.
Manuel has more wins than any manager in Phillies history (727) and his winning percentage (.561) is the best among Phillies managers with 300 or more games. He has won five National League East championships, two National League pennants and one World Series. The Phillies’ .561 winning percentage under Manuel from 2005-12 is best in the National League and third in baseball behind the Yankees (.590) and Angels (.563).
Now, if you’re argument is, well, he only won one World Series, despite some pretty talented teams … just a reminder the Phillies have won only two World Series since their inception in 1883. And a little perspective is good here, too. Jim Leyland has won just one World Series in 21 years as manager. Bobby Cox won just one in 29 years. Tony La Russa won three in 33. Tommy Lasorda won two in 21. Connie Mack won five in 53. The point here is that it is tough to win a World Series.
One in eight years with the Phillies isn’t so bad. In fact, I’m reminded of something Dallas Green told me in Spring Training 2004. He said, “If it were easy to win a World Series, I wouldn’t be the only son of a bitch walking around here with a ring.”
Leave Dallas to tell it like it is.
But I also know some people think Manuel didn’t take advantage of the talent he had. So what do you think? Vote.
“This is the last time I’ll answer about my deal, OK?” he said. “I’m very satisfied with the way it is. This is my ninth year and I know the good things that we’ve had and I should never have to sit and tell somebody what we’ve done and I always give my players the credit for it and things like that. And I should never ever even have to answer what we’ve done. I definitely, if I needed to get established as a Major League manager, I definitely did that with kind of the help of my players. And if we lose 10 games or we win 10 games, well, I don’t want nobody to ask me about it because it’s not going to bother me.
“I’ve seen Joe Torre, his contract’s run out before. Dusty Baker’s last year, (former Cardinals manager Tony) La Russa. I’ve seen all these guys and there’s still a couple this year. It’s (Yankees manager) Joe Girardi this year. That’s fine. It’s the way it goes. And I’m not worried about it at all. So therefore, I want to stay focused. I want to stay totally focused on us winning. Us winning is more important to me than my contract. At the end of the year, somewhere along the line, (Phillies president) David Montgomery and Ruben (Amaro Jr.) and I will more than likely have a talk and that’s kind of how I see it.”
Manuel, 69, is optimistic to think his contract status won’t be discussed if the team struggles, especially if the Phillies struggle early in the season. But he does not believe he needs to defend his record as manager on a weekly basis, either.
What is there to defend, he wonders? He has more wins than any manager in Phillies history (727). His .561 winning percentage with the Phillies is the is the best among Phillies managers with 300 or more games. He has been to the postseason five consecutive seasons, winning one of the organization’s two World Series championships.
“I shouldn’t have to explain it to anybody, the team or President Obama or anybody,” he said. “Seriously. That’s kind of how I look at it. I’m not worried about my contract. I’ve been in baseball 51 years and right now I definitely plan on staying in baseball and I plan on managing.
“What we did is sitting there in front of you. My record is just as good as anybody’s in baseball. I don’t want to sound like I’m an ‘I-Me’ guy because I’m not. But really, I mean just look at it. What’s wrong with it? Do you know what I mean? We want to win a World Series every year. But that’s kind of impossible. The Yankees have 27 of them, so there’s over 100 years the Yankees didn’t win. You can look at it anyway you want to. But it’s what it is.”
Manuel said he never mentioned his contract situation during his morning meeting with the team.
“I would never do that,” he said. “I would never do anything like that.”
That would take away the focus from the field, and that’s where a good manager gets his reputation as a good manager: the players on the field perform and win.
Is he confident this team can win?
“We won’t know until we start playing games and when we get on the field and play,” he said. “At the same time, I look in there we got a lot of options. We got some competitions going. Usually there’s ifs on teams every year. You’ve got to turn those ifs into exclamation points. That’s how I look at it. You definitely work to try and improve. Everybody we got, they’ll get a tremendous chance to improve themselves.”
Charlie Manuel asked a reporter this afternoon if he had seen Mike Adams throw his morning bullpen session at Carpenter Complex.
Manuel raised his eyebrows.
“He was throwing pretty good,” he said excitedly.
Adams revved up for his session, which is good news although it is just a couple days into camp. Adams signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies to be their setup man, but he is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which involved removing a rib near his right shoulder. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter had the same surgery last year, but he is going to miss the 2013 season and possibly never pitch again because his pre-surgery symptoms returned.
Adams said he is not concerned he could share a similar fate.
“When I heard about Carp, my first thought was, ‘OK, what happened?’” Adams said. “Carp and I had the same surgeon do our surgeries, so that was in my favor a little bit in terms of information. When I first had my surgery I spoke with the doc and he told me he did Carp’s surgery, and I was kind of excited because I knew he came back pretty quickly. But when I brought that up, the doctor was like, ‘Well, I wish he would’ve waited a little longer to come back. I think he came back a little too early.’ At the time, we didn’t know this was going to be the result. At the same time, everyone has a different kind of severity — how long the nerve and vessels were being pinched, how badly. So his severity could’ve been worse than mine.
“I talked to (Phillies right-hander Aaron) Cook yesterday, and he had the surgery as well back in 2004, and his was very severe. He said his surgery took like nine hours, whereas mine took an hour-and-a-half. So there are different severities. That’s something I really looked into when I first found out about it. Hopefully the severity of mine wasn’t as bad and I can move on.”
But the Phillies are going to take things slowly with Adams.
“He probably won’t get into (Grapefruit League) games as fast as some guys,” Rich Dubee said. “But he’s really not going to need as much. He doesn’t need 15 to 16 innings, I don’t think. But he’s coming along fine.”
“I feel great,” he said. “I don’t really see any reason that anything is going to be a problem. When we first got here we said I’ll take it slow. I don’t see a reason to really throw in any of those games in the first week. The last thing I want to do is have 15-18 innings entering the season. The last few years I’ve gotten about 9-10 innings and felt great, so that’s what I’m going with entering this season. … But when I’m throwing the ball I don’t notice anything that feels different. I’m throwing the ball a lot better than last year, I’m know that.”
That’s a big if, obviously. Chase Utley hasn’t played in a single Grapefruit League game since 2010 and Delmon Young could miss the first couple weeks of the season because of an injured ankle. But if everybody is healthy, what will it be?
Here’s my best guess:
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Michael Young, 3B
- Utley, 2B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Young, RF
- Domonic Brown/Darin Ruf/John Mayberry Jr., LF
- Erik Kratz, C
- Ben Revere, CF
Here is what Manuel said about Delmon Young hitting fifth, providing that right-handed power like Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth in the past:
“Yeah, he can hit fifth,” he said. “He definitely can hit fifth. I think once we get to Spring Training and put him in and let him play, I think hitting is definitely his strong point. I think he’s a good hitter.”
Where is Revere hitting?
“He can hit in the top of the lineup to somewhere down toward the bottom. It kind of depends on how he looks. I have seen the guy hit three times. I don’t go on somebody telling me where he can hit. I go on what I see, once I see him.”
If Delmong Young hits five, can Michael Young hit second?
“Yeah. First of all, we can do a lot of things. But also, too, as I explained, if we are going to give people time off and things like that, then we will have different lineups. We are going to have completely different lineups sometimes.”
Note: Scream so hard your face turns red, but I don’t see Rollins moving out of the leadoff spot. That could change once the season starts or if Manuel falls in love with Revere, but Manuel likes Rollins at the top of the lineup.
“Who we’ve got on the corners in the outfield, that’s who’s going to dictate where our lineup falls.”
For the moment, the Phillies have Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix in the corners. Everybody in the organization would like to see them add a reliable, proven, right-handed-power-hitting corner outfielder, but nothing has happened yet. If nothing happens before Spring Training, Manuel will have to work with Ruf, Brown, Mayberry and Nix.
He said “without a doubt” the Phillies could platoon in both left and right field.
“But at the same time that’s something that will have to be worked out,” Manuel said. “If it’s what we’ve got right now, if that’s what we’ve got to go with, I think going into Spring Training I’ll play everybody and just see what happens. … We’ll just wait and see. Since we’ve been here our organization has always tried to improve our team, and if we can that’s what we’re going to do.”
Hey, maybe Ruben Amaro Jr. has something up his sleeve.
“I’m not leaning into that,” Manuel said. “I’m always going to fish. Of course I want him to get somebody good or big or whatever, but at the same time I think we’ve gotten much better. Young is definitely going to help us. So is Ben.”
Knowing it is only Dec. 10 and plenty can change before the Phillies’ April 1 season opener in Atlanta, here’s my best guess at Manuel’s Opening Day lineup: