06/11/09 2:00 AM ET
Rollins resumes role of Phils' catalyst
Philadelphia (34-23) at New York (31-26), 7:10 p.m. ET
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel returned Rollins to the top spot in his lineup Wednesday against the Mets at Citi Field, and he is expected to be there again in the series finale Thursday.
"Probably," Manuel said, asked if Rollins had returned to the leadoff spot for good.
Manuel had hit Rollins sixth on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers and Tuesday in New York against the Mets. Rollins went 5-for-8 in those two games hitting sixth, and that was enough to convince Manuel to return his leadoff hitter to where he feels he belongs.
"The only thing I was trying to do was give Jimmy a different look, a little different feel," Manuel said. "I also think Jimmy knows his hitting."
Manuel said he thought Rollins' recent performance in the sixth spot probably is just a coincidence.
"He started seeing the ball and he started putting better swings on it," Manuel said.
In other words, Manuel does not think Rollins will immediately return to his struggling ways by returning to the top spot.
PHI: LHP Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.27 ERA)
It looks like Moyer is slowly turning around his season. He allowed just four hits and two runs against the Dodgers on Friday at Dodger Stadium. He has a 3.60 ERA in his last four starts after he had an 8.15 ERA after his first seven starts of the season. That included a three-start stretch in which he went 0-2 with a 13.86 ERA. Moyer didn't get the win Friday because the Phillies blew a one-run lead in the ninth, but if he keeps pitching like he has recently, the Phils expect to win a lot of games.
Redding gave himself some breathing room with six solid innings Friday against the Nationals. He wasn't rewarded with a decision, but the right-hander scattered four hits and two walks on 88 pitches, striking out two and allowing one run. It was reminiscent of his first Mets start in Los Angeles, and Manuel noted that the team's catchers rated Redding's previous side sessions the best he had thrown all year. Manuel gave the former Nationals hurler a vote of confidence after the game, the first Redding start his club had won since the Nats' 7-4 win at Philadelphia last Sept. 1. Tidbits
The Phillies don't have a lot of speed on their bench with Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Chris Coste, Paul Bako and Eric Bruntlett. In fact, Bruntlett is the only bench player who would be considered an adequate pinch-runner. But Manuel said that is no big deal. "I think it's something we can work around," Manuel said. "I don't think that'll be a problem as much as you would think." ... Manuel said he hopes to play both Coste and Bako behind the plate when Carlos Ruiz needs a day off, although he does not exactly how it will work. ... Raul Ibanez hit his 20th homer of the season Wednesday in the team's 56th game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that was the fewest games any Phillies player has needed to hit 20 homers. Jim Thome held the previous record with 77 games. Tickets
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Friday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-3, 5.46) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 5-5, 5.09), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Phillies (Antonio Bastardo, 2-0, 2.45) vs. Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-4, 7.33), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Phillies (TBD) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 7-2, 3.77), 1:35 p.m. ET
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.