Asche Making His Case

Cody AscheIf Cody Asche keeps playing like this, you’ve got to think he will be the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman in 2014.

He went 3-for-4 with one home run and three RBIs in last night’s loss to the Nationals. Asche has hit in 10 of his last 11 games. He is hitting .375 (15-for-40) with three doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBIs in that stretch. He is hitting .312 (24-for-77) in 22 games since beginning his big league career with one hit in his first 17 at-bats.

Two of his hits last night came against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, making him 5-for-13 with one double and four RBIs against left-handers this season. That is impressive, although it is a small sample size. Asche had an .869 OPS against right-handers this season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley compared to a .691 OPS against left-handers, so it remains to be seen how successful he can be against left-handers over an extended period of time. But that is why Asche has started 21 games against right-handers since joining the Phillies, compared to just three starts against left-handers.

Easing in a left-handed hitter against left-handed pitchers is nothing new. Larry Bowa did the same with Chase Utley and Charlie Manuel did the same with Ryan Howard.

The Phillies faced 31 left-handed starters (19.1 percent of their games) in 2003. Utley started just two of his 36 games (5.6 percent) against them. The Phillies started 28.4 percent of their games against left-handers in 2004. He started just seven of his 57 games (12.3 percent) against them. That disparity grew a little closer in 2005 — 29.6 percent of total games started against lefties compared to 20.6 percent for Utley — before Manuel truly turned Utley loose against lefties in 2006.

Howard started just one of five games in 2004 against lefties, and just 14 of 79 (17.7 percent) against them in 2005. Manuel turned him loose during his MVP season in 2006.

“I thought he had great at-bats,” Ryne Sandberg said about Asche. “It goes a long way with his ability. I think he can hit righties or lefties. He has the ability. He should get a big boost from his game tonight.”

9 Comments

Very curious about how they might find a spot for Franco. That bat would look pretty intriguing right about now. Ought to bring him up to play 1st base.

Revere, Utley, Brown, Howard and now Asche. The 2014 lineup is going to be decidedly left-handed (moreso when JRoll hits lefty). Howard and Utley are untradeable so Brown or Revere should be trade bait if we could find another good RH bat for the OF. Nothing on the farm to fit that bill. Maybe Franco should start playing OF in winter ball? Are you listening Ruben?

against left handers, howard should be on the bench. that would give you ruf, ruiz, howards replacement (franco or frandsen) and rollins. so it is pretty much even up.

They’re not going to trade Brown or Revere. Ruf will replace Howard at 1st against lefties.

They are not going to sit a player getting paid $25 million against all lefties. They just won’t. Watching Cesar Hernandez last night makes me think that he is a better option in CF than Ben Revere. He hits the ball harder, can steal a base and at least he switch hits, so the lineup won’t be so lefthanded.

uhhh – I don’t think they are going to trade Brown. They just spent like 5 years getting him ready to play! Of course, with the moves this team has made over that same span, who knows what wacky thing they will do?

I don’t think it would be “wacky” to trade Domonic Brown. They don’t have a lot of other plausable assets to trade right now, and Dom has definite trade value, particularly because he won’t even be arbitration eligible until 2015. They have to figure out a way to add another solid RH bat and Dom may be the ticket. Can you say, Chase Headley? I would also trade Revere for some bullpen help and put Cesar Hernandez in CF.

And Werth was also a prime trade candidate when the Phillies knew they were not going to be able to re-sign him. What did Ruin do? He sat around with his thumbs up his ass and allowed Werth to stick around and eventually walk at the end of his contract. And, yes, I heard of Chase Headley. But how is a third baseman going to address the Phillies need for a right handed bat in the outfield? Do you really trust Ruin to trade such a promising talent as Brown, the outcome of which the Phillies would be improved?

Yes, he is a third baseman, but Headley has and can play LF (his first two MLB seasons were spent in LF). The only downside is that he is in his last year of arbitration and can be a FA in 2015. But the Phillies need to do something to get more righthanded at the plate. Playing Hernandez in CF and trading Revere is a no-brainer in that regard.

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