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Sandberg not afraid to stack Utley, Howard in lineup

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ryne Sandberg had Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit back-to-back in the Phillies lineup Wednesday, despite Rangers left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. on the mound. He split up the two Tuesday against Rangers lefty Martin Perez. Why the change?

"[Ross] has a big difference in splits with right-handed and left-handed bats," Sandberg said. "Left-handers are hitting a career .280 against him, and right-handers .230. So he's got reverse splits. He features a changeup and some pitches running away from the right-handed hitter that we hope to take advantage of with the left-handed bats."

Howard's streak of hitting cleanup was snapped at 665 consecutive games Tuesday, when he hit fifth. It was the longest streak since Albert Belle hit fourth 672 consecutive games from 1991-96 with the Indians.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
Read More: Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley