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Ibanez sits, Francisco starts in left field

Ibanez sits, Francisco starts in left field

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Tuesday it's getting too late to start making changes.

Well, maybe not.

Manuel made a significant change to his lineup Wednesday before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Giants at AT&T Park. He replaced Raul Ibanez in left field with Ben Francisco to put another right-handed hitter in the lineup against Giants rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

"I talked to Raul and I feel like Raul is trying too hard and overswinging, chasing bad balls," Manuel said. "The swing is getting long. Plus, I wanted to put another right-handed hitter in the lineup. That was probably the biggest reason. But at the same time, I like Francisco because he did finish the season hitting the ball good."

Francisco has had just one plate appearance since Oct. 3, but has hit .284 with six doubles, six home runs and 18 RBIs in 88 at-bats against lefties this season. It includes a .344 on-base percentage and a .544 slugging percentage.

Ibanez has hit .267 with 12 doubles, two triples, four homers and 23 RBIs in 187 at-bats against left-handers, including the postseason. It includes a .307 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging percentage. But Ibanez has hit just .130 (3-for-23) with one double, two walks and seven strikeouts in the postseason. He is hitless in 11 at-bats with one walk and five strikeouts in the NLCS.

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