Ben Revere was hanging around the dugout during batting practice on Sunday sipping a Gatorade. He was dealing with a stomach bug and remained out of the lineup as the Phillies went on to romp the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park, 8-3. With the Phillies opening an important series in Miami on Tuesday and Revere's struggles at the plate, his handle on the starting job in center field is slipping away.
by PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor | May 20 2014, 1:00pm EDT | @Philabaseball
PHILADELPHIA - Ben Revere is expected to be back in the Phillies lineup on Tuesday, but his grip on the starting position in center field is beginning to weaken.
Through 36 games this season Revere has collected 37 hits, but just two have gone for extra bases. He's hitting .268 and has walked just three times over 142 plate appearances.
His inconsistency at the plate and inability to get on base means he's likely going to be bumped to the bottom of the lineup, especially considering the recent success with Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot and Carlos Ruiz and Wil Nieves in the two-spot over the weekend against Cincinnati.
John Mayberry Jr. started in place of Revere in center field on Sunday, but he is hitless against righthanded pitching this season and the Marlins are scheduled to throw a trio of righthanded starters in Miami.
Manager Ryne Sandberg admitted following Sunday's contest that he's open to the idea of shuffling players around in center.
"There's options there, so it just becomes a matter of who is pitching," Sandberg said. "That's just something to think about."
Aside from Revere and Mayberry, Tony Gwynn Jr. is also a possibility in center.
Of the three, Revere has better career numbers against lefthanders while Gwynn hits better against righthanders.
The Phillies currently sit four games behind Atlanta in the NL East and two games behind Miami.
It's tough to say a three-game series is important in May, but the outcome in Miami could lead to a significant swing in momentum for the Phillies.
"It's an important series with a division rival," Sandberg said. "It means something to us."
You can bet it means a lot to Revere, too.
Doorstep of history
Jimmy Rollins is quietly putting together his best season since winning the NL MVP Award in 2007. Through a quarter of the season he's hitting .262 with five doubles, two triples, five home runs, 18 RBIs, a .359 on-base percentage, a .428 slugging percentage and a .787 OPS. He also is in pursuit of history, needing only 22 more hits to pass Mike Schmidt to become the franchise's all-time hits leader.
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