Ex-Phillie Victorino not surprised by team's recent success

In 41 games for the Dodgers, Shane Victorino is batting .234 with eight doubles, a triple, a homer, and 11 RBIs.
In 41 games for the Dodgers, Shane Victorino is batting .234 with eight doubles, a triple, a homer, and 11 RBIs. (Associated Press)
Posted: September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON - Shane Victorino let out a hearty laugh when one postseason scenario was suggested.

What if his old team, the Phillies, met his current club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a play-in game to determine the second wild-card spot?

It's not impossible.

The Phillies, who were rained out Tuesday, entered the evening trailing St. Louis for the National League's second wild-card spot by 31/2 games with 14 to play. The Dodgers, who were rained out of Tuesdays' game against Washington at Nationals Park, were one game behind the Cardinals with 15 to play.

"I have not sat back and thought about that scenario, but it would be very interesting," Victorino said of a potential showdown with the Phillies. "I don't count anything out, and us playing them for the last wild-card spot could happen."

When Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline, the Phillies began the day with a 45-57 record.

They are now 74-74.

"It hasn't surprised me that they got back into it," Victorino said. "If there is any team that could, it is those guys."

Victorino admits to closely following his old team, a club he had been with since 2005.

"[John] Mayberry is playing a lot better, Domonic [Brown] is getting his opportunity, and guys like Jimmy [Rollins] are starting to swing the bat well," he said. "And they have the horses on the mound who are doing their thing."

That's a pretty good scouting report from afar.

"I definitely pay attention," he said. "Just because I am gone and was traded doesn't mean I forget my old teammates and guys I played with for many years."

It has not been a completely smooth transition for Victorino, who turns 32 in November and will be a free agent after this season.

In 41 games for the Dodgers, Victorino, who has primarily played left field, is batting .234 (39 for 167) with a .303 on-base percentage. He has scored 20 runs and has 11 stolen bases, eight doubles, a triple, a home run, and 11 RBIs.

"He hasn't quite been what we have seen against us in the past, so I think he is definitely trying way too hard," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Victorino agreed.

"For a guy like me, I always want to be that guy and do the best I can, and sometimes I start building up that pressure, that expectation," Victorino said. "It has happened a little bit this year, going into free agency and that stuff."

On the surface, his numbers this year, including his time with the Phillies, are not terrible, especially for someone who will project as a centerfielder during free agency. He moved to left field with the Dodgers because of the presence of Matt Kemp.

For the season Victorino is hitting .253 with a .318 on-base percentage. He has 25 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 51 RBIs, and 35 steals, and has scored 66 runs.

The beauty of this baseball season, one made crazier by the addition of the second wild-card team, is that two good weeks can make up for months of ills.

"He is playing with a ton of energy and wants to get it done and knows any day he can catch fire," Mattingly said. "It's a 15-day stretch for us and [he] can make a big difference for us."

As much as he follows his old team, Victorino will do anything to keep the Phillies out of the postseason, knowing there isn't enough room for both the Dodgers and the Phils at this point.

"When you think of it, after they made those trades, if they go on and we don't, I will really be disappointed," Victorino said. "I will say, darn, I better not let this happen."


Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com or on Twitter @sjnard.

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