It was another up and down week for the Philadelphia Phillies. On the field, the team continued its inconsistent ways. In the dugout, Ryne Sandberg had a mixed week as well.
Last Saturday against the Mets, I really liked the way he handled rookie David Buchanan. The offense backed the rookie making his major league debut early, and built an early 5-2 lead. Through five innings, he had only thrown 66 pitches, which some would use as an indicator that he had plenty left. Having a great sense for the game, Sandberg removed Buchanan before the rookie was exposed to the lineup a third time. He handed the game over to his three best relievers, Jake Diekman, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon. Minus an unearned run allowed in the sixth, they held the game there and got the rookie his first major league victory.
During Sunday’s no-hitter by Josh Beckett, there was frankly nothing the manager could have done; the team just did not hit. That being the case, it was all about how he got his team to respond the following day. In a gutsy move, he rolled out the same lineup essentially (Carlos Ruiz replaced Wil Nieves) and the team rewarded him with nine runs.
I thought Monday’s 9-0 victory against the Rockies was actually his best game of the season. He got the most out of Kyle Kendrick, executed a timely double switch to bring Mike Adams in, which netted a big strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki in a big spot, and called the right man off the bench as John Mayberry Jr. crushed a pinch hit home run.
Tuesday though, he made a questionable decision asking Jeff Manship, the long man, to hold the game in the eighth inning at 4-2. It went exactly everyone outside of Sandberg thought it would go, as Manship allowed the deficit to fall to 6-2.
Also in Tuesday’s game was a home run from Darin Ruf. With Domonic Brown having a historically bad season, posting an OPS around .550, one would think it would be a good idea to go with the more productive Ruf in left field. Though not a particularly good defender, Brown is no gold glover himself so it would make some sense. Sandberg, however, went right back to his struggling regular and seems reluctant to get Ruf in the starting lineup. Moving forward, this is a good thing to keep an eye on, how long his leash for Brown is.