Sometimes, Charlie Manuel does things that confuse all of us.
That’s nothing unusual. All managers do things that don’t make a lot of sense sometimes. In some cases, those moves work out, and in other cases, those moves do not.
Usually though, a manager makes a move with a specific goal or end game in mind. Usually, there is some rationale behind every move made.
But that ain’t how Cholly rolls, y’all.
Before Thursday’s 10-5 win over the Braves at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Manuel posted a lineup that raised a few eyebrows, putting Ben Revere at the top of the lineup with Jimmy Rollins hitting second. Rollins has not hit second in a regular season game since May 29, 2004.
Surely there was a good reason for Manuel’s experiment. Surely, there was a master plan. Surely, there was some genius at work, a brilliant baseball scheme in the back of that crafty manager’s mind. Right, Charlie?
“I don’t know,” Manuel said after the game, when asked why he made the switch. “I just wanted to see it. Actually, it looked pretty good. We won the game and got some runs. Ben, the last two days, he has hit the ball pretty good. We’ll see how it goes. That will work itself out.”
I’ll say one thing for Charlie. He’s an honest dude.
Seriously though, it’s spring training. This is a time for adjustments and experimentation, even if there isn’t a firm reason behind it. Not every move made on a baseball diamond is part of some master plan. Not every move is part of some interesting chess match.
Sometimes, a manager just wants to throw some spaghetti up against the wall to see if it sticks.
Yesterday, this lineup stuck.
Revere has been off to a very good start this spring, with five hits in 13 at-bats, a walk and three stolen bases. He got on base three times in Thursday’s game against Atlanta with a double, bunt single and a walk. Rollins, meanwhile, was 0 for 3 and is 1 for 8 overall this spring.
But some caution to anyone who thinks this could be the lineup Manuel uses April 1 against Atlanta. Rollins has not hit second in nine years and it’s unlikely he’ll start off the season in that spot. The Daily News’ David Murphy yesterday pointed out why hitting Rollins anywhere other than leadoff probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Phils right now.
Still, if this lineup produces runs the way it did on Thursday throughout spring training, Manuel could go with it on Opening Day.
One thing is for sure, it’s not the last time this spring you’re going to see it.
Sometimes, much like Heath Ledger’s Joker, Charlie Manuel… just… does… things…
Even if he’s not sure WHY he’s doing them in the first place.