Revere leads off, Rollins bats second for Phils
ATLANTA -- Jimmy Rollins said in February he couldn't care less where he hit in the Phillies' lineup.
Leadoff, second, third, fifth -- he just wants to win.
But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel kept his lineup a closely guarded secret anyway until Monday afternoon, when he officially made center fielder Ben Revere his leadoff hitter, with Rollins batting second against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson at Turner Field. He also chose John Mayberry Jr. to start in right field over Laynce Nix.
The Revere-Rollins order makes sense, if for no other reason than it does not line up three left-handed hitters in a row with Revere, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
"I decided that I would try it awhile," Manuel said. "I've got more options in my lineup than I had at this time last year. We've got more speed in our lineup. We've got a few more patient hitters and guys that work the count."
Manuel would not say how long he would try Revere in the top spot.
"We'll see how long I give it," he said. "I come to the ballpark to win. I don't have to put a time on it or nothing. I can't tell you if it's going to be five days, 10 days, two days -- we'll see. I just felt like that's what I wanted to see. That's how I wanted to put it together. I look at Jimmy against righties, he hooks the hole good. If Ben gets on, Jimmy is definitely capable of hitting balls to the right side of the diamond, getting him over, things like that. Ben's more of a spray hitter. He hits more to the left side of the diamond than Jimmy. There's a lot of things that go into play there."
Said Rollins: "It's not the first time I've hit second."
But it has been a while. Rollins last hit second May 29, 2004, when he hit between Doug Glanville and Bobby Abreu.
Revere called the top spot an honor, but he knows he will need to produce to stay there.
"Hopefully, I can get some pitches I can swing at," he said. "I got big guys right behind me, I just need to get on base. By base hit, by walk, by error -- just however I can get on. With those big guys behind me, they hit those balls in the gap and I can easily score. Pretty sure I can score 100 runs. My job is to just get on base, steal bases, stuff like that."
Manuel also chose Mayberry over Nix. Mayberry has hit an undistinguished .229 with a .626 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against right-handers in his career, but .308 (4-for-13) with two home runs, five RBIs, four walks and two strikeouts in his career against Hudson. Nix, who has hit .253 with a .744 OPS in his career against right-handers, has hit .308 (8-for-26) with one double, one home run, four RBIs, one walk and eight strikeouts against Hudson.
"I'm basically playing Mayberry because I remember him playing against Hudson and how he's done," Manuel said.