Ben Revere, His At-Bat, and the Lead-Off Spot
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Phillies’ 7-5 loss to the Braves last night at Turner Field in Atlanta won’t determine where the team finishes in the standings this year. Sure, you’d like to start 1-0, but 0-1 is not an impossible deficit to overcome.
SO NOBODY PANIC… AT LEAST NOT YET!!!!
Cole Hamels will be OK. As Crashburn Alley notes, this isn’t the first time Hamels started off the season on the wrong note. And he’s always turned out fine.
So, breathe into a paper bag or something. Cole Hamel’s got this.
And of course, Utley’s powerful performance was a sight for sore eyes and may have been the most important thing to come out of last night’s contest against Atlanta. Also, Dom Brown’s productive at bats continued for most of the night, just as long as you forget that he stranded two base runners in the 5th inning.
Ah, I don’t sweat the details, yo.
So while there were some negatives as well (Michael Young‘s rough debut offensively and defensively, Chad Durbin‘s ERA of infinity, Ryan Howard looking lost at the plate to name a few) there was one other aspect of last night’s loss to the Braves that should have Phillies fans smiling this morning.
Ben Revere‘s 1 for 4, one-walk, one-stolen base performance as the Phils’ leadoff man showed why he should be the man to hit atop the Phils’ lineup until further notice.
One hopes the entire Phillies bench was closely watching Ben Revere’s at-bat in the Phils’ 2-run 5th inning last night, because that at-bat that changed the entire complexion of the inning, and should be used as the shining example on a hill of what a professional at-bat is supposed to look like.
Revere fell behind in the count 1-2 and then fought off pitch after pitch, eventually drawing an 11-pitch walk. That helped set the table for Chase Utley‘s two-run single that pulled the Phils to within a run, the closest they would get to catching Atlanta’s high-powered offense all night.
Revere’s at-bat was special, mainly because we haven’t seen a Phils hitter put together an at-bat like that since the days of Jayson Werth. Revere fouled off four pitches with two strikes in order to figure out a way to get on base.
If you can remember a Jimmy Rollins at-bat like that, I’ll buy you a snow cone.
Taking pitches, working walks and getting on base is simply not a skill that is highly valued by this franchise. And to be fair, Revere has never been a guy who has drawn a lot of walks in his brief career (26 and 29 the last two years). But he is young, doesn’t swing and miss very often, and sure looked like he knew what he was doing against Tim Hudson in the 5th inning last night.
Simply put, Revere’s at-bat, as well as Dom Brown’s at-bats throughout the night, are sorely needed with this free-swinging lineup. Revere drove up Hudson’s pitch count and helped knock the right-hander out of the game before he made it through the 5th.
For too many years, Phils hitters have made life easy on opposing pitchers, allowing them to cruise through the middle innings with low pitch counts.
And while one at-bat by Ben Revere isn’t going to change things overnight, it at least offered a glimpse of his potential as a leadoff hitter, and hopefully showed the rest of the team (and front office too) how valuable it can be to have players who know how to work the count, drive up an opposing starter’s pitch count, and get on base.
Credit Charlie Manuel for doing something hard and shaking up the top of the lineup. It would have been really easy to keep Rollins as the de facto leadoff hitter, but thankfully Manuel recognized there may just be a better option this time.
Despite a handful of negatives last night, Revere’s at-bat was a gleaming positive that perhaps served notice the kid may just stick as the Phillies lead-off hitter.