Here’s the Phillies’ lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS against the Giants and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Raul Ibanez, LF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Roy Oswalt, P
The big change here is that Jimmy Rollins is back in the leadoff spot for the first time since Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds. Rollins stole two bases in Thursday’s win in Game 5, so it looks like his hamstring is finally feeling close to 100 percent. Shane Victorino gets bumped down to sixth in the order.
Charlie Manuel also sticks with Raul Ibanez against the lefty Sanchez, despite using Ben Francisco against southpaw Madison Bumgarner in left field in Game 4. Ibanez had his first two hits of the series in Game 5 and is batting just .185 (5-for-27) during the postseason.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.