Tonight's lineup: Utley batting third
Expected to go two days on, one day off while he literally gets his legs back under him, Chase Utley did not play on Thursday after returning loudly on Wednesday.
But he’s back in the three-hole Friday night as the Phillies play their first-ever game at Marlins Park.
Utley bats third, a spot after Juan Pierre and before Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies’ lineup just looks so much more complete when you can turn the second basemen – previously a shoe-in to the eight-hole – into a top-of-the-order hitter.
Have a look for yourself at tonight’s lineup against Marlins' ace Josh Johnson:
1) Jimmy Rollins, SS
2) Juan Pierre, LF
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Carlos Ruiz, C
5) Hunter Pence, RF
6) Shane Victorino, CF
7) Placido Polanco, 3B
8) John Mayberry, 1B
9) Cliff Lee, P
Perhaps this lineup is capable of providing Lee with some run support and his first win. If Lee goes six innings tonight and doesn’t win, he’ll tie the longest stretch of six-inning starts without a win since 1969, at 13 (see game notes)
Of course, the last few haven’t been the fault of the offense. Lee was given a 4-1 lead three starts ago in Baltimore and blew it. He was then given a 5-2 lead in Toronto and blew that. Lee had been the recipient of the fewest runs of support in all of baseball through the first two weeks of June. Now, he’s fourth-lowest.
If he can pull it out, Lee will join the 350 other pitchers that have registered a win this season. E-mail Corey Seidman at email@example.com