Phillies tweak lineup to face Sabathia
Victorino bats second, Werth sixth against Brewers ace
PHILADELPHIA -- Preparing to face Brewers ace CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the best-of-five National League Division Series on Thursday, the Phillies altered their lineup.Manager Charlie Manuel went with an alignment that pushed Jayson Werth to sixth and bumped Shane Victorino to second behind Jimmy Rollins.
Werth went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1 and finished the regular season in a 5-for-35 skid."It might help Werth relax a bit," Manuel said. "He's been trying too hard. I told him to slow down and stay on top of the ball more, relax. Also, I like Victorino hitting second off CC. Left-handers that throw hard, especially when Victorino makes the pitcher bring the ball down, he can have strong games at times." Manuel also stuck with catcher Carlos Ruiz, notable since Chris Coste has caught Game 2 starter Brett Myers most of the season. Coste is 3-for-32 since Aug. 29, and Ruiz has been solid offensively and defensively. Manuel used this lineup nine times during the regular season, eight times against a lefty starter. The Phillies went 5-4 overall in those games, 5-3 against lefties. Sabathia isn't just any lefty. "We know we've got our work cut out," Pat Burrell said. "This guy has been phenomenal for them. You have to give him a lot of credit for what he's done. We've got to find a way to beat him." Sabathia is 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts for Milwaukee. He's starting on three days' rest for the fourth straight start, and has posted a sparkling 0.83 ERA in the previous three. The Phillies last faced him on June 20, 2007, when he pitched for the Indians. Sabathia allowed four earned runs in that outing, but won the game. "We should've beat him last year, but they have some big bats in that lineup that came storming back," Rollins said. "It'll be fun." It should be more fun for Rollins, who is good with friends with Sabathia. They are both active participants in a program designed to bring baseball back to inner cities, and Sabathia grew up playing Junior Olympic baseball with Rollins' younger brother, Antwon. Sabathia jokingly tells Rollins he's the best ever. "He's always texting me that," Rollins said. "I don't respond to that. Dontrelle [Willis] says the same thing. Whenever I make a play in the hole, it's like 'Oh my goodness, I was there when.' And I'm just there like [rolls eyes]."
Phillies' Game 2 Lineup
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.