Ryan Howard’s streak ends at 665
Phillies have always assumed, when healthy, that Ryan Howard bats cleanup.
But a streak of 665 consecutive games batting in the four-hole ended when Ryne Sandberg decided to bat Howard fifth against the Rangers Tuesday.
Ironically, the last time Howard batted somewhere else in the order was in June of 2008 against the Rangers in Arlington.
Sandberg hopes the shuffling can position the Phillies in a better position to succeed against a lefty hurler, Texas’ Martin Perez. His lineup alternates lefties Ben Revere, Chase Utley and Howard, with righties or switch hitters Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd (batting cleanup) and Carlos Ruiz.
Expect the pragmatic and inventive Sandberg to experiment with lineups a lot more than predecessor Charlie Manuel, who rarely deviated from his basic lineup when he had a healthy Phillies squad.