As soon as Andrew McCutchen’s season ended after getting caught up in a rundown, the leadoff hitter should have been the Philadelphia Phillies’ hottest bat. That bat belongs to Scott Kingery. I’ve compared Kingery to another tenacious fan favorite to wear the Phillies pinstripes; Chase Utley. The reason why I see that so early on in his career is that like Utley, he gets on base. Utley had more power in his swing than Kingery, but Kingery gets the ball out of the park pretty often. He has a nose for scoring, which is what you want at the top of the order. Utley and Kingery also have their own strengths when it comes to fielding. Utley was one of the best second basemen during his playing days, but the versatility of Kingery is a big help for a team that needs to be flexible with Gabe Kapler making the lineup.
Another observation of the batting order than brought back stability against the New York Mets was the return of Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins to their normal places. Away from batting leadoff and second, putting Harper back at third and Hoskins back at clean up is the power position that the Philadelphia Phillies batting order needs. This worked earlier this season when the Phillies led the National League East standings, so some things that worked previously need to be revisited. Harper and Hoskins saw the ball well against Steven Matz and the Mets again. For Harper, it’s not a “curveball machine” as much as it could be feeling comfortable in the batting order.
The defense has been a downfall for the Philadelphia Phillies as much as a lack of driving in runs has had adverse results. For all that Maikel Franco is, including his inconsistencies, he is still the best third basemen on this team. The plays he makes shows the fielding potential he has. Months like April show the kind of power he wields at the plate. However, Franco’s focus has always been a huge concern, which makes Gabe Kapler audible to inserting different players at third base and benching Franco. Sean Rodriguez doesn’t cut it all around and Scott Kingery isn’t going to be the starting player playing the “hot corner.” The Phillies show results with Franco in the game, so he has to play.
Most of all, if Gabe Kapler is going to make a lineup change for the game, he has to start making statements to get control of the locker room. Jean Segura didn’t run out a fly ball that landed for a base hit, which should have been a double. It cost the Phillies a run and momentum on offense. Having a runner, not in scoring position, changes the complexion of the outcome. While Kapler keeps a positive outlook on the Phillies season as a whole, he should have benched Segura for a game. If Segura wasn’t hustling and didn’t get benched, the question is begged about exactly why Franco has been all this time. I am a big advocate of Segura since I think he has been a shining star this season for the Phillies, but the lack of hustling on live balls is exactly why a large percentage of Phillies fans soured on Manny Machado in the off-season.
The win on Monday night against the New York Mets snaps a seven-game losing streak for the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight, Jake Arrieta (6-6, 4.12 ERA) takes the mound for Philadelphia against Walker Lockett (0-1, 23.14 ERA). I wouldn’t change a single thing with the batting order. In fact, I think the Phillies win their second straight game against the Mets and take the first two games of this four-game series. Watch tonight on the MLB Network and listen on 94.1FM WIP. The first pitch is at 7:05 pm.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports