By Sam Bush

Newbie Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has already made his mark as an out of the box leader of men:

His music, his six-pack abs, his boldness and his non-stop talking.

And now he is hitting the pitcher eighth.

As he did yesterday in a 5-3 loss to the Rays.

The Phillies had Vince Velasquez (above) hitting eighth and J.P. Crawford hitting ninth.

“We want more runners on base at the top of the lineup,” Kapler told “We’re utilizing J.P.’s superior on-base skills. That’s the intent there. It’s possible that we use a similar kind of lineup during the season. We don’t want to do anything for the first time in the season that we didn’t do in practice here.”

“If you think about where we can do a lot of damage, it’s right at the top of our lineup,” Kapler said.

He said if Carlos Santana or Rhys Hoskins is hitting second, which is likely, “it makes sense that we’d like J.P. standing on second or third base when those guys come up in the order. But it’s not just J.P. It’s going to be a personnel decision. Any edge that we can get to score more runs, we’re going to go after it, even if it’s just a minor edge.”

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