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Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies lineup
by Scott Butler 9/15/13

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:

Young Hernandez Hernandez
Frandsen Rollins Rollins
Utley Utley Utley
Brown Ruiz Ruiz
Ruiz Ruf Ruf
Ruf Asche Asche
Mayberry Frandsen Galvis
McDonald Galvis Mayberry

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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