Prior to Thursday’s game, the Philadelphia Phillies released their lineup which featured one major change.
The lineup included third baseman, Maikel Franco, as usual. The difference was that he was batting seventh.
Franco had not been listed that low in the lineup since the end of the 2014 season, which was his first in the majors. He had previously been in the 6 spot in the order for the first 2 games of the series against the Rangers, which was already a new spot for him to be in. He then found himself seventh in the order for the series finale.
Phillies manager, Pete Mackanin spoke to the press about his decision to move Franco down in the lineup. “At some point, players have to understand that you have to earn hitting up at the top of the lineup.”
He continued, “You have to earn it. If you want to play, you have to hit. If you want to hit up in the order, you have to hit.”
Mackanin also went on to say, “He can work his way back up. I’m hoping he does. I feel like he will. But he has to earn the right to go back up in the middle of that lineup.”
Franco homered in the team’s 8-4 loss on Thursday.
In addition, Franco hit two balls to the warning track, one of which served as a sacrifice fly and gave the Phillies an early 1-0 lead in the second inning.
It’s no secret that Franco’s season has disappointed many coaches and fans.
He currently has a batting average of .216 with a .693 OPS.
Franco is swinging at a lower percentage of pitches that are out of the strike zone than last season which has caused many to wonder why the third baseman is not performing at his usual level.
Though he is making more contact on pitches in the zone and hitting balls hard, the results have been inconsistent.
“I feel really good,” Franco said. “I saw the pitches really well today. I hit the ball to center field, to the right side, so I’m going to stay positive. That’s what I have to do and that’s what I want to keep doing. I feel good.”
“I just try to do my best,” Franco said. “It doesn’t really matter where I’m hitting. I just try to do my best. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s hard. But I just go out there with the same mentality and what I can do to help my team.”
We will have to wait and see if Franco begins to produce and becomes more consistent at the plate, though one thing is very clear, Mackanin sent a direct message to his team, especially his third baseman.
Photo: Michael Lee (via: Flickr)