Phillies Notes: Is Revere's starting job slipping away?

The Phillie Phanatic's backups: Suitably attired young fans line up to take the field at Citizens Bank Park for the beloved mascot's annual birthday bash on Sunday. The Phillies' gift? An 8-3 bashing of the Cincinnati Reds. Story, Sports, D1.
The Phillie Phanatic's backups: Suitably attired young fans line up to take the field at Citizens Bank Park for the beloved mascot's annual birthday bash on Sunday. The Phillies' gift? An 8-3 bashing of the Cincinnati Reds. Story, Sports, D1. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: May 20, 2014

Ben Revere was careful Sunday morning not to breathe on his teammates; a stomach virus sapped him of energy and thrust John Mayberry Jr. into center field for two games. Revere, though, reported improvement as he sipped Gatorade.

He should be available to play Tuesday in Miami.

Whether Revere returns to his starting spot is another issue. His .581 OPS ranked 169th among 177 qualified hitters entering Sunday's action. Jimmy Rollins assumed Revere's customary leadoff spot over the weekend and appears set there.

Mayberry contributed two doubles in two days. He started 120 games in center before, but this weekend marked his first action there in 2014. The 30-year-old outfielder remained hitless against righthanded pitching; he popped out Sunday against Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton. He is 0 for 15 vs. righties and is viewed as a platoon player best suited for regular time against lefties.

Revere, too, has better career numbers against lefties. Tony Gwynn Jr. succeeds more often against righties.

Manager Ryne Sandberg suggested that there could be a mishmash in center. The Phillies will face three righthanded Marlins pitchers this week.

"That's just something to think about," Sandberg said. "There's options there. . . . It may depend on who is pitching."

Lee rebounds

Speedster Billy Hamilton bunted for a hit on Cliff Lee's second pitch Sunday. Chris Heisey walked on four pitches. Both runners later scored. That was all Cincinnati mustered against the lefthander.

"For whatever reason," Lee said, "the first inning took me a little bit to get to where I was locating pitches."

Sandberg said Lee's velocity was not strong when the game started. The 35-year-old has lost some zip from his fastball - about 1 m.p.h. on average, according to Baseball Info Solutions data - but has overcome it. His ERA is 3.18 through 10 starts.

He faced a Reds lineup Sunday that lacked Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. That helped. So did the ability to pitch with a lead.

"It's easier to attack the strike zone," Lee said. "You can use a little more of the plate and not worry so much if you give up a solo home run. It's not going to hurt you as bad. When it's a close game, every pitch is important."

Extra bases

Cody Asche saved a run in the fourth with a barehanded grab on a Tony Cingrani squeeze bunt. The third baseman committed three errors when Lee last pitched. "I owed Cliff one," Asche said. Asche is batting .333 with a .418 on-base percentage and .625 slugging percentage in May. . . . The Phillies improved to 11-3 on Saturdays and Sundays this season.

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