Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost In The Pines

I am all for resting regulars with, well, some regularity, and giving role and bench players a chance to shake off the rust, but putting Greg Dobbs in at third base for Placido Polanco is always a risk and yesterday the move had disastrous consequences when Dobbs booted a key play that opened the gates for Boston.

The Phils have gotten decent performances out of Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez subbing for Jimmy Rollins, decent given what the expectations have been, but they haven't gotten much else out of the bench. Tops among those who have disappeared in the pines is Ben Francisco, who should be getting a lot more playing time than Raul Ibanez, and Ross Gload, who could also spell Ibanez when the Phils need a left-handed bat. Ibanez hasn't reached the Dallas Green "killing us" stage, but his glove, always suspect, is worse than ever, and his batting remains erratic and largely unproductive. Franciso needs to play more than once a month to get his stroke. The Phillies seemed keen to get him last year but have largely buried him.

Dobbs hasn't produced anything other than intelligent copy for more than a year now and his bat and glove have become liabilities the Phils can ill afford to carry. Castro and Valdez won't make anyone forget Jimmy Rollins, but regular playing has helped their games. Gload may be this team's Matt Stairs, but he probably should see more playing time, too.

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