Looking for some small ball?
Don't be surprised tonight if you see Shane Victorino bunt for a base hit tonight and swipe second, or play some hit and run with Wilson Valdez.
It's all lefties on deck today as they attempt to shake out of their epic slump. Greg Dobbs will start at third base for Placido Polanco, while Ross Gload will start for Jayson Werth against Gload's former team.
But the most interesting move is the one that has Valdez batting second in between Victorino and Chase Utley.
Manager Charlie Manuel alluded to the potential of playing more small ball tonight and in the near future, much the way the Mets did in out-scoring them 16-0 in a three-game series sweep at Citi Field. The Mets only hit one home run in the three-game series, but converted 8-of-9 stolen base attempts, had two sacrifice bunts and two sacrifice flies, and bunted for one base hit.
Valdez is 3-for-4 off of righthander Chris Volstad in his career and has eight hits in his last 24-at-bats, including four extra base hits. Manuel also likes the way Valdez handles the bat -- he has struck out just once in his last 24 ABs, and eight times in 57 at-bats this season. So don't be surprised if you see him bunting a runner over to third base or playing some hit-and-run.
Manuel also said he would like to see Victorino bunt more, something he has shied away from doing over the last year-plus.
Victorino has attempted to bunt for a base hit on only three occasions this season, but he has reached safely in two of them. Last season he did not bunt for a base-hit at all, and only attempted to do so five times.
In 2008, he bunted for a base hit nine times out of 17 attempts.
Here's the complete line-up:
Shane Victorino CF
Wilson Valdez SS
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Ross Gload RF
Greg Dobbs 3B