Ryne Sandberg is making a solid case to have that interim tag ripped off his back in place of a full-time big league manager label. Sandberg inherited a 53-67 Phillies team and transformed them into a winning ball club. The Phillies are 16-13 since Sandberg's promotion, tying them with the Dodgers for the 6th best record in baseball during that time span.
His success is a particularly impressive feat considering the roster Sandberg is working with. His daily lineup includes four starters who began the season in the minor leagues (Asche, Ruff, Galvis, Hernandez) along with several bench players (Mayberry, Frandsen, Bernadina, Martinez, Orr) enjoying regular playing time.
Let's examine his miracle juggling act by focusing on his lineup cards. Here is a list of the players used for each of the spots in the starting lineup during Sandberg's 29 games as Phillies skipper.
Phillies lineup positions under Sandberg
|1st||Hernandez (10)||Bernadina (8)||Rollins (6)||Young (4)||Martinez (1)|
|2nd||Rollins (18)||Frandsen (5)||Young (3)||Ruiz (2)||Galvis (1)|
|3rd||Utley (25)||Frandsen (2)||Young (2)|
|4th||Ruiz (12)||Brown (12)||Kratz (2)||Ruf (1)|
|5th||Ruf (16)||Ruiz (5)||Young (4)||Frandsen (3)||Asche (1)|
|6th||Asche (17)||Ruf (8)||4 with 1|
|7th||Mayberry (11)||Galvis (6)||Frandsen (6)||Asche (3)||2 with 1|
|8th||Mayberry (9)||Bernadina (5)||Kratz (4)||4 with 2||2 with 1|
For a slightly different perspective, here is a breakdown of the number of times players have appeared at different positions in the starting lineup.
Phillies lineup positions by player
|Rollins||1st 6 times||2nd 18 times|
|Young||1st 4 times||2nd 3 times||3rd 2 times||5th 4 times|
|Utley||All 25 games|
|Brown||All 12 games|
|Ruf||4th 1 time||5th 16 times||6th 8 times|
|Asche||5th 1 time||6th 17 times||7th 3 times|
|Ruiz||2nd 2 times||4th 12 times||5th 5 times||8th two times|
|Mayberry||6th 1 time||7th 11 times||8th 9 times|
|Frandsen||2nd 5 times||3rd 2 times||5th 3 times||6th 1 time||7th 6 times|
|Kratz||4th 2 times||7th 1 time||8th 4 times|
|Bernadina||1st 8 times||8th 5 times|
|Hernandez||1st 10 times|
|Galvis||2nd 1 time||7th 6 times||8th 2 times|
It is interesting to note that amidst all of the chaos, Sandberg has managed a small semblance of consistency, batting Utley, Brown, and Hernandez in the same position in every game they started.
At the same time, it is not surprising to discover that Ryno has only used three lineup cards more than once, and each of those was used only twice. Here is a list of those lineups:
It will be curious to see if Sandberg finds a lineup he likes over the last few weeks. Perhaps that will give us some insight into the 2014 season.
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