Players Fit Well In New Lineup

When Charlie Manuel looks at his lineup, he doesn't see a group that should average the fourth-fewest runs per game in the National League. He sees an offense that has the talent to score runs in bunches. That's why he decided to shuffle his batting order. Chase Utley was the new number two hitter, Ryan Howard was elevated to number five and Aaron Rowand was pushed back to number six. With that lineup, Manuel reasoned, his offense would be a little more threatening in the opening inning.

"We definitely have a chance to get after right-handed pitchers," Manuel said before the game. "I want us to come out and knock pitchers out of the game. This gives us a strong top (of the order)."

Against the Rockies on Monday night, the new lineup did what Manuel hoped -- it put up runs early and often against right-hander Josh Fogg. The Phils scored twice in the first inning and three more times in the third. The top of the order certainly clicked. Jimmy Rollins had two hits and two runs. Utley had three hits and two runs. Bobby Abreu had a two-run double and a sacrifice fly. And Howard, at long last seeing some runners in scoring position, delivered a pair of RBI singles.

"It worked tonight," Howard said of the new lineup.

"I decided I was going to use it (Sunday)," Manuel said, "but then we wanted to start (David) Dellucci and (Abraham) Nunez and load left-handed hitters in the lineup, so I just waited until today."

Utley didn't have a problem with the change when Manuel approached him.

"I talked to (Utley) a little bit Friday night about doing it," Manuel said. "I told him if it doesn't work, I can try another one. He said, 'Charlie, I'll hit wherever you want me to hit.'

"I want to sit back and see how it goes. The top of the lineup definitely got to the pitcher."

REPLAY: Five Phillies hitters did all of the damage, amassing all 10 hits, six runs and six RBI in the team's 6-5 win over the Rockies.

Jimmy Rollins (2-for-4) and Chase Utley (3-for-4) scored five of the six runs, while Bobby Abreu (1-for-2, 3 RBI) and Ryan Howard (2-for-4, two RBI) drove in five of the six runs.

Cory Lidle (2-2) was charged with four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but in truth he was much better than those numbers say. He was able to shrug off some shaky defensive work behind him and strike out a season-high 10. Tom Gordon picked up his sixth save in as many opportunities.

PHILLY NOTES

  • LHP Cole Hamels is one step away from the majors. The Phillies promoted the talented, injury-plagued left-hander from Class A Clearwater to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre on Monday. Hamels made four starts for Clearwater and went 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings, striking out 29. Assistant GM Mike Arbuckle liked what he saw from Hamels as he tries to bounce back from two seasons plagued with injuries. "I think the keys coming out of spring training were that we wanted to see Cole stay healthy for a period of time, and then we wanted to see the weather warm up," Arbuckle said. "He hasn't had any problems physically at all - he answered the bell - and the weather has gotten better."
  • RHP Chris Booker, a Rule 5 selection on a rehabilitation assignment, was moved to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. Booker, who was slowed in spring training by a balky knee, pitched 10 innings for Class A Clearwater and struck out 20 batters and walked only two. "He's been showing improved velocity," assistant GM Mike Arbuckle said of Booker. "He's starting to command his pitches."
  • 3B David Bell's fourth-inning strikeout Monday was his first of the season in his 56th plate appearance.
  • 1B Ryan Howard is warming up at the plate, but his glove has been a bit cold in the early going. Howard made a pair of poor fielding decisions Monday, each of which led to a run.
  • 2B Chase Utley has been feast or famine at the plate. He has six multi-hit games this season, yet his average is a modest .269. Fifteen of his 18 hits have come in those six games, and he has gone hitless in half of his starts (nine of 18).


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