While the Houston Astros hosted “Throwback Night”– complete with retro uniforms from 1965, female ushers called “Spacettes” rockin’ gold lamé, Jackie O-style skirts suits, and a collectively miserable-looking grounds crew in orange “space” jumpsuits that made them look like they should be picking up trash on the side of a Texas highway–Shane Victorino decided he wanted to throw a comeback party instead. Late in the game, he delivered an RBI single and a two-run homer that helped lift the Phils to a 9-5 win at Minute Maid Park Saturday night.
I had almost forgotten Victie was even on the roster this season. Could you blame me? While the rest of his teammates have been setting off offensive fireworks game after game, Shane came into Saturday night carrying a heavy 0-14 slump on his back, further fueling debate over whether the great batting order shuffle of 2010 – which dropped Victorino down to the seven spot to make way for Placido Polanco in the two-hole – was already a failed experiment.
I’ll admit, it still doesn’t seem right to see Victorino at the bottom of the order. I’m not 100-percent sold yet that it’s the best slot for him. But even if he hadn’t broken out of his slump last night, I’d still be sitting here writing about how I think he needs to stay in that seven spot, at least for the time being. Why would we even think to tinker with this offensive right now? They’ve registered 10-plus hits in five consecutive games – a feat this franchise hasn’t accomplished since 1926. (Jamie Moyer was on the mound back then too, you know. In case you didn’t hear, he’s really old.) And they did that even with a mostly unproductive Victorino. Meanwhile, Polanco has been leading the offensive parade in that two-hole.
I swear it ain’t broke, folks. So, why fix it? We’re going into the second week of this season with a 4-1 record. A long-established fact of this game is that hitters will slump. They slump early in the season. They slump mid-season. And they slump late in the season. Usually it’s just a matter of when and how they’ll break it, not if. Hopefully, Victorino officially broke his current slump last night, but as he told Sarge last night in the post-game interview, he’s still adjusting to his new role at the bottom of the order. It may take him some time to find his groove. In the meantime, his teammates have him covered.
My prediction: The Flyin’ Hawaiian finds his stride in the seven spot. Don’t panic, my phellow Phillies phans. I think Charlie got this one right.