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Phillies are deeper than just their stars
Question of the Day
Mayberry has started four games at first base, 11 in left field, 22 in center and six in right. He credits a new, open stance with helping him stay on the ball better.
“He’s been huge,” Howard said. “He’s come up offensively, defensively, whatever he did this offseason hitting-wise, it’s definitely worked for him. It’s been a dramatic change since last year.”
Mayberry is playing so well he’s making it difficult for Manuel to take him out of the lineup when everyone is healthy. He could end up platooning with the left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez in left field. Ibanez, who has been bothered by a sore grain, is batting .236 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs in 436 at-bats. Mayberry has 12 homers and 41 RBIs in only 197 at-bats.
“I look at John and he’s kind of like in a Jayson Werth situation,” Manuel said. “That’s a very good comparison. The more he does, the more he’s going to get to play and the more room we’ll find for him to play.”
The veteran Valdez and Martinez, a Rule 5 pickup, filled in at second base when Utley missed the first two months. They’ve had to handle third base when Polanco was on the DL two separate times, and now they’re sharing time at shortstop in Rollins‘ absence.
Valdez even picked up a victory on the mound, tossing a scoreless inning in a 19-inning victory over Cincinnati in May.
“Any time I get a chance to play,” Valdez said, “I want to go out there and do my best and enjoy the game and win.”
The Phillies are six games ahead of Atlanta in the East, and have led the division nearly wire-to-wire. They’re 19 wins away from setting a single-season franchise record.
But all that matters is winning the World Series.
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