Asche moved up as Sandberg changes lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Ryne Sandberg tinkered once more with the Phillies lineup on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. And the changes paid off, as the Phils had 13 hits in a 12-1 victory over the Reds.
Sandberg kept Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz in the top two spots for the second consecutive game with Ben Revere sidelined with a stomach virus and carrying a .289 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot, which is 24th out of 26 hitters with 100 or more plate appearances in the top spot this season. Sandberg also moved up Cody Asche to sixth after hitting eighth in his previous 27 starts this season.
"I was impressed with [Asche's] at-bats last night," Sandberg said before the game. "Driving the ball, quality at-bats, nice aggressive swings. I want to try him in the sixth spot. I like the way he's going about things, working on things and applying it. Kind of a grind-it-out attitude."
After going 2-for-4 with three RBIs on Saturday, Asche is now hitting .318 (14-for-44) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs in 13 games this month. He also has a .752 OPS for the season, which is higher than Ryan Howard (.750), Domonic Brown (.596) and Revere (.581).
Brown had hit sixth in 34 of his 36 starts this season, but he dropped to seventh. He responded on Saturday with just his second homer since last August and drove in a career-high five runs.
"A lineup creates scoring opportunities, then it comes down to execution and a big at-bat and a swing to drive in one run or maybe two or three," Sandberg said. "That's the one punch that we want to see. That's what we need to get us over the hump and get us going. There are multiple guys in the lineup that could be that guy. I don't think it's one person."