Ryne Sandberg easily found his spot in the dugout since taking over as interim manager last month. Along with his plus-.500 record, this Hall of Famer player might be able to lead the Philadelphia Phillies into the postseason in 2014. But, 'might' is the key word in that tentative statement.
Despite what all emotional detractors will forever choose to believe, Charlie Manuel was exactly the right manager for the mid- to late-2000s' Phillies' squads. He rightly owns a full share of the 2008 World Series Championship and the 2009 World Series appearance.
Manuel believed in an American League style of management. He was able to implement that philosophy in the National League because he had the proper roster parts.
Manuel's diamond men also remained healthy enough to win five consecutive division titles. But, age, injury and the inclusion of some square pegs eventually spelled the end of Philadelphia's reign atop the baseball world by the fall of 2011.
Sandberg has inherited a team that still has established talent and some younger men who are hungry to please. However, 'Ryno' knows that his offense isn't set, his defense (while better) must improve, four starters (not two) must go deeper into games, the bullpen needs to shutdown the opposition after the sixth inning and the bench must bolster the starting crew, not perform at at Triple-A level.
With some quality additions this off-season and some good fortune next spring and summer, Sandberg could win enough regular season series to lead his 2014 team into October.