The Philadelphia Phillies emerged from a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night with a split and a splitting headache on a night when both games took exactly three hours and 53 minutes to play.
The split came in a 13-inning 2-1 win in the second game, while the headache came in the form of an injury to leading hitter Ben Revere. A broken foot is expected to keep Revere out for at least for the balance of the month, maybe more, as he will likely go to the 15-day disabled list. Now the Phillies have a hole in the middle of their outfield and not a whole lot of good options to fill it for the next four weeks.
They could go the tried and true (but sometimes false) route with career utility man John Mayberry Jr. playing center field and leaving All-Star Dom Brown in left field and right fielder Delmon Young in their spots. Or they could call up a right fielder from the Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Iron Pigs, Steve Susdorf, who currently is hitting .347 on the Triple-A level. In that scenario, the speedy Brown moves to center field and Susdorf plays either right or left field. Their other outfield options at the Triple-A level are Tyson Gillies (.210) or Leandro Castro (.269).
Going with Mayberry might be the safest route, but he’s a career .253 major-league hitter, who’s batting .250 now. Revere was hitting .305 and raised his average from .243 since June 1. The Phillies stand to lose 55 points in a batting order sorely in need of players who can get on base on a regular basis. They might be better served keeping Mayberry as a late-inning reserve.
Relying on Susdorf would be the riskier move with the promise of a higher reward. If Susdorf, a member of Fresno State’s national championship team in 2008, can hit anything close to .347 in the majors as he did at Lehigh Valley, then Revere’s loss would not be as profound.