April 12, 2016
Pete Mackanin is shaking up the top of his lineup. Slightly.
Darin Ruf, who has started just one game this season is not in the lineup against San Diego left-hander Robbie Erlin, even though Mackanin has said since the winter he planned to platoon Ryan Howard with Ruf this season.
Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the dexterity of the opposing pitcher. Prior to the game, Mackanin said that Ruf hurt his left shoulder diving for a ball at first base during Monday's home opener and is being evaluated. He added that "we'll know more later" but is hopeful that Ruf will be available to pinch hit in Tuesday night's game. Stay tuned.
Also interesting: after slotting Freddy Galvis in the leadoff spot for five straight games, Mackanin has slid the struggling, light-hitting shortstop down to the sixth spot. Everyone else has moved up a spot – Cesar Hernandez leading off, Odubel Herrera hitting second, Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard at 3 and 4 – closely mirroring the batting order he went with in the first two game of the season.
It seems like the better way to line up a mostly anemic offense. The bottom half of the order is almost always going to be littered with unproven offensive players or players that specialize in defense (Peter Bourjos, Tyler Goeddel, Cedric Hunter, etc.). It’s a group Galvis fits with.
Galvis is miscast as a leadoff hitter. He has a career .279 on-base percentage in 329 games and even last year, when he improved a bit with the bat, Galvis had a .302 OBP. Even in 2016, if you include spring training, Galvis has played in 27 games and totaled 95 plate appearances without drawing a single walk.
Hernandez, meanwhile, led the Phillies with 40 walks last season. And, although his base-running instincts cost the team twice this weekend at Citi Field, he at least has the legs to run a little: Hernandez went 19-for-24 in stolen base attempts last season.