Phillies’ leadoff hitters are batting just .233 with a .283 on-base percentage this season, so manager Charlie Manuel is trying something different tonight against the Brewers.
Per CSNPhilly.com, Michael Young will bat leadoff tonight for the first time since 2004. The 36-year-old has made 242 starts out of the leadoff spot during his career, but all of them were during his first four full seasons in the big leagues.
Young only has 11 extra-base hits through 53 games this season, but he has been more patient than usual, walking at a rate of 11.6 percent while swinging just 41 percent of the time. He has a 6.7 percent walk rate for his career and has never topped 7.9 percent (2009) in a season. Who knows if he’ll keep it up, but the increased patience is welcome development given that he’s no longer driving the ball like he used to.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.