Tony Gwynn to Lead Off versus Jose Fernandez
By Pete Dymeck
Mar 16, 2014; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Tony Gwynn (19) sits on second base after stealing it in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a spring training exhibition at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Phillies are looking to turn things around after suffering a three game sweep by the bats of the Milwaukee Brewers, pushing their losing streak to four consecutive games. The task will be as difficult as ever as the Phillies open up their next homestand tonight against Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins.
With a lineup in flux, skipper Ryne Sandberg will give center fielder Ben Revere a night off and lean on well-journeyed veteran outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to lead off. The 31-year-old Gwynn is a lifetime .244 hitter who has managed just seven HR in nearly 1,700 plate appearances. In six trips to the plate this season, Gwynn has managed one hit and two walks.
Philadelphia Phillies 4/11/14 Lineup versus Miami Marlins. Credit: @Phillies on Twitter
He does little to enthuse a battered fan base who is showing their lack of support for the Phillies front office by staying away from Citizen’s Bank Park. As attendance continues to dwindle in Philadelphia, Sandberg can only do so much to counter whatever arm the team is facing on any given night.
Miami ace Fernandez is proving his 2013 National League Rookie of the Year campaign was no fluke. He is off to a 2-0 start this year, coupled with a 0.71 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched. In 18 innings versus the Phillies a year ago, Fernandez allowed just one earned run.
Following Gwynn in the lead-off spot will be the usual suspects we have become accustomed to since March 31st.