10/08/10 5:14 PM ET
Quintet starts 32nd straight playoff game
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Just think about the past four Octobers.
Those five Phillies have started 32 consecutive postseason games together, including Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Friday. Elias Sports Bureau said it is the longest stretch of consecutive starts for one team by five players in baseball history.
"Our whole mantra when [former Phillies general manager] Ed [Wade] took over was to try to get a nice core together, and a lot of those guys are homegrown guys," Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Bring that core together and see where we'd go with them. It's great to have had that group of guys together."
The streak started in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Feeling better, Polanco back in lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- Placido Polanco is healthy enough to play, so Phillies manager Charlie Manuel returned him to the lineup Friday for Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
Polanco, who missed the NLDS opener with back soreness, played third base and hit second.
"He's feeling very good," Manuel said before the game. "He got OK'd and he told me he's fine. He said he feels a lot better."
Center fielder Shane Victorino moved into the leadoff spot, and shortstop Jimmy Rollins dropped from first to sixth.
"I wanted a couple right-handed hitters behind [Ryan] Howard in case they brought in a lefty," Manuel said of his decision to hit Jayson Werth fifth, Rollins sixth and Raul Ibanez seventh. "We can get some balance. Ibanez has been hitting the second half of the season, and especially against left-handers pretty good. But I liked that lineup the other day, and I like it now because of the fact they've got depth and left-handers in the bullpen."
Ibanez hit .303 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and an .853 on-base-plus-slugging percent from July 1 through the end of the regular season. He hit .295 against left-handers in that stretch.
The Phillies are exploring ways to get top prospect Jonathan Singleton on the field. Singleton, a 19-year-old first baseman, is playing left field in the Florida Instructional League because Ryan Howard has blocked his path to the big leagues at first base. "We introduced it to him about midseason," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Obviously, with Ryan signed to a long-term deal, we wanted to see if he had the aptitude and the athleticism to do it. He took to it pretty well. He's doing fine. I think he's just getting acclimated to it." The Phils tried Howard in the outfield during Spring Training 2005, but pulled the plug relatively quickly. Could Singleton be different? "Much later time for Ryan," Amaro said. "Singleton is 19. Ryan, by that time, he was ingrained at first base. He has a different body type than Ryan. He's a little bit smaller guy. Not as big. Not as large as Ryan." ... Amaro said right-handers Jesse Biddle and Jared Cosart are throwing well in the FIL. Cosart missed time this season with an elbow injury, but Amaro said he is throwing 98 mph again. ... Reds manager Dusty Baker called Roy Halladay's two-out single to left field in the second inning of Game 1 the biggest hit of the game. Halladay has improved offensively since the beginning of the season. He hit .094 (5-for-53) with one RBI and 26 strikeouts (49 percent of his at-bats) in the first 18 games he hit. He hit .205 (8-for-39) with four RBIs and 16 strikeouts (41 percent of his at-bats) in the final 13.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.