The argument in favor of pinch-hitting was laid out in the 12 previous at-bats, which had seen the 22-year-old exhaust every option for not getting on base. There were doubleplays and strikeouts and warning-track fly balls, not to mention the slow roller that just trickled foul.
With runners on first and second and one out in the seventh inning of a home opener that had seen the offense shut out, Charlie Manuel considered both of his options before erring on the side of psychology. While the veteran manager has given his armchair colleagues plenty of decisions to second-guess during a discouraging four-game start to the season, the plethora of players who singled out Galvis for praise after a 6-2 loss to the Marlins showed that Manuel nailed this one. The move led to one of the few moral victories the Phillies could claim while falling to 1-3 for the first time since 2009, providing some positive spin for an otherwise dismal day.
"I remember what it was like as a rookie trying to get the first one," centerfielder Shane Victorino said.
Galvis has the unfortunate task of breaking into a makeshift lineup that has left the locals yearning for the units that blasted baseball back into civic prominence late last decade. The Phillies are not averaging two runs per game because of the guy who bats eighth. Competent major league lineups have withstood the presence of an all-glove, no-hit infielder for as long as the sport has existed. But with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the disabled list, the Phillies have yet to approach competency, which is why Manuel pondered a replacement for Galvis in the bottom of the seventh.
"I gave thought to it," he said.
Not that he had many options to contemplate. Bringing in Jim Thome or Laynce Nix would have prompted Ozzie Guillen to call on the lefthander warming in the Marlins bullpen, which would have forced Manuel to call on the only righthanded hitter on his bench, which would have forced Nix or Thome to face the lefty the following at-bat while pinch-hitting for the pitcher. It also would have forced Manuel to either keep Wigginton in the game on defense or burn a fourth bench player, leaving the Phillies to overcome a three-run deficit without much in the way of pinch-hitting options and a less-than-optimal defense on the field.
"At the same time, I wanted to show that I had confidence in him," Manuel said.
So he let Galvis hit, which is probably the strategy he is going to have to apply to all of his players until Utley returns. No amount of strategizing can overcome the glaring imbalance among the stable of hitters at his disposal. The first three games saw an attempt to matriculate base runners toward home plate with a painstaking procession of bunts. There were no sacrifice attempts Monday, but the result was the same.
The decision Manuel faced is the same one he faces at two other important positions. Offense or defense, and what kind of each? Monday, he chose to go with John Mayberry Jr. at first base, which meant sacrificing defense in leftfield, which manifested itself in a fourth-inning base hit that Hanley Ramirez stretched into a double, showing little regard for Juan Pierre's throwing arm.
While Mayberry is the Phillies' strongest first baseman, the position is still new to him, which was evident in the sixth when he charged a bunt by Emilio Bonifacio instead of retreating back to the bag. Galvis had no shot at covering first ahead of the Marlins speedster, so when Cole Hamels fielded the ball and whipped a dart to first, the throw sailed into the outfield and allowed Bonifacio to reach third.
While Manuel has some combinations he can play at first and left, nothing he does at second base will generate enough offense to justify the sacrificing of Galvis' beautiful glove work.
"Freddy's pretty sick," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "He's a natural over there moving from short to second. I've never seen him play short, but you can't tell that he was never a second baseman prior to Chase getting injured."
Whether the Phillies win or lose, they are going to do it with the rookie, which is why it made sense to let the kid keep digging until he struck gold.
"After the second game, I was like, 'Wow. When am I going to get it?,' " Galvis said. "Now, I'm feeling much better."
Contact David Murphy at email@example.com.