Phillies 1B/OF Laynce Nix. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images North America)
ATLANTA — The Phillies are fortunate enough to have Ryan Howard and Chase Utley back in their lineup every day.
But unfortunately it squashes out guys like Laynce Nix who can provide offense every day.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that he wants to get Nix in the lineup more often, be it at first base or in left field.
Nix, who recently returned from a DL stint that kept him out of the lineup with a calf strain since May 10, has been crushing the ball when he is healthy. Nix is hitting .320 (16-for-50) with six doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs in 26 games.
“Nix is a good piece to put up there in a big situation in the game,” Manuel said. “But he also has to play enough to stay sharp.”
Nix could spell Howard at first base, but with both being left-handed hitters the Phils would most likely opt to keep Howard in against righties.
The other dilema for Nix is in left field. Mayberry will get the obvious starts against left-handed pitching but there is also Juan Pierre, whose .308 average is the second highest on the team among regular players. Pierre also gets on base, something the Phillies want in the bottom of their lineup.
Nix has been a huge bat off the bench for the Phillies, and in order for him to maintain that consistency off the bench he will need to play more.
GET TO SHEETS — Ben Sheets will make his third start of the season against the Phillies and Cole Hamels. Sheets, who was on the Phillies radar back in June, has pitched 12 shutout innings in two starts for the Braves this year, winning both starts.
That streak can’t last… right?
Tonight’s lineup vs Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00)