One thing that has had me, and probably most Phillies fans, wondering is what the lineup is going to look like with Raul Ibanez added and the fact that we could potentially have 3 lefty batters in a row in the middle of the order. Now having Utley, Howard, and Ibanez back to back to back would be absolutely devastating against a RHP but would leave us very susceptible to late inning bullpen match-ups. Me personally, I would like to see a kind of experimental lineup that would look like this:
To me this lineup could be VERY effective and wouldn’t leave us open to a lefty specialist shutting us down in late innings. The reason I bat Werth 3rd is the incredible plate discipline he has and his ability to work a count and get on base consistently. He is much more valuable batting 1-3 to get on base for a Howard or an Ibanez to knock him in. But I was expecting to see this lineup:
I have no gripes with this lineup because it is still pretty sick but I just prefer Werth at the front of the lineup, which he very may well be when facing a left handed starter. I see Manuel using the above lineup against a righty and against a lefty he would switch Werth and Vic much like he did often in the playoffs last year.
So I say all this because Manuel’s lineup for today’s game against the Blue Jays in quite similar to scenario #2 and it looks like that is what he will be going with Opening Night, minus the DH. Here it is per Todd Zolecki:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Chris Coste, DH
9. Carlos Ruiz, C
Well there you have it. Chan Ho Park gets the start and hopes to continue his strong push for the 5th starter job. Cole Hamels will be pitching in a minor league game so we can all hope for the best. Oh and Brett Myers is lined up to start Opening Night April 5th, assuming they want a starter on the normal 4 days rest.