Results tagged ‘ Cody Asche ’

Ryno Makes Changes to Lineup

lineupRyne Sandberg isn’t the type of manager to find a lineup and stick with it.

He made considerable changes to his lineup following Monday’s 14-10 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Stadium.

He has Marlon Byrd hitting fourth between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard tonight against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez. That itself should not surprise people. Sandberg hit Byrd fourth several times in Spring Training. Byrd also had a .959 OPS against lefties last season, which ranked 13th out of 173 qualifying players in baseball. Meanwhile, Howard has a .602 OPS against lefties from 2011-14, which ranks 203 out of 213 qualifying players.

But the move is noteworthy because Howard had started 665 consecutive regular-season games in the cleanup spot. The last time he started a game and did not hit fourth? June 29, 2008, in Texas.

Pat Burrell hit fourth that afternoon.

Sandberg also has Cesar Hernandez playing second base with Utley the DH. John Mayberry Jr. is starting in left field, giving Domonic Brown a day off. That’s a platoon move. Brown’s career splits: .794 OPS vs. righties to .672 OPS vs. lefties. Mayberry’s career splits: .852 OPS vs. lefties to .668 OPS vs. righties.

Cody Asche, who had a big game yesterday, also takes a seat to Jayson Nix at third base. Nix has a career .727 OPS against lefties, compared to a .602 OPS against righties. Asche has a .629 OPS against lefties in his brief big-league career, compared to a .762 OPS agianst righties.

Interesting stuff …

Asche Makes First Opener Memorable

Shawn Tolleson, Cody AscheThe Phillies sent Maikel Franco to Minor League camp on March 22, which guaranteed Cody Asche would be the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman. (Truth be told, it was going to take a miracle for him not to be the starter.)

Asche said at the time he wouldn’t believe it until he saw his name in the lineup.

It was there as expected today at Globe Life Stadium. He went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, walk and two RBIs in a 14-10 victory over the Rangers. Ben Revere and Chase Utley also picked up three hits in the victory, with Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd also hitting home runs.

The Phillies couldn’t have written the script much better, other than Cliff Lee not giving up seven runs through five innings. Asche’s couldn’t have been much better, either.

“I would compare it a little bit to that first day in the big leagues,” Asche said of his day. “It’s a new experience I’ve never had before. I’ve never played or started in an Opening Day game. Not really knowing what to expect, a lot of jitters and excitement, which is always good.”

Asche Wins Third Base Battle

Cody AscheCody Asche will be the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman.

Ryne Sandberg did not exactly say it this afternoon following a 5-3 loss to the Pirates at McKechnie Field, but there is no other way to look at it. The Phillies announced this morning they had reassigned third baseman Maikel Franco, right-hander Sean O’Sullivan and outfielder Clete Thomas to Minor League camp.

The Phillies had billed Asche/Franco as a competition to be their third baseman.

Franco is gone, Asche remains.

“Uh, yeah,” Sandberg said, when asked about Asche as the Opening Day third baseman. “Well, I think it’s a combination of two things. Franco goes and gets seasoning and gets at-bats and works on things, probably more on the offensive side, shortening up his swing and getting some better line drive-type of contact. Now Cody plays in these games and gets ready for the start of the season and then we go from there.”

While the Phillies touted this as a true competition, the reality is Franco would have had to completely outplay Asche to have any shot at the job. Asche impressed the Phillies in 50 games late last season, while Franco has not played above Double-A.

Franco hit .184 (7-for-38) with two RBIs, two walks and six strikeouts in 16 games. After starting the spring 0-for-13, Asche has hit .250 (7-for-28) with two doubles, three home runs and six RBIs. He had started to come around earlier this spring, but got hit in the hand with a pitch, which set him back.

“I had kind of a tough go at it in the first two weeks and I was started getting comfortable and then got hit in the hand,” Asche said. “I had to sit for two days and you have to start over when you should be at a point of progression. I had to work through that for a little bit and I have been pretty happy with my last five to seven games with the at-bats I have had.”

Asked about being in the Opening Day lineup, Asche said, “Until my name is on the lineup card Day 1, it’s anybody’s job still. I can’t take anything for granted, whoever is down or whoever is here.”

Asche Gets Hit, Seems Just A Bruise

ascheSince the Phillies played their final game in 2013 they have preached the importance of health.

They believe if they are healthy they will win.

They suffered a scare this afternoon at Bright House Field, when Pirates pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang hit Phillies third baseman Cody Asche on the right hand with a pitch in the fifth inning. Asche left the game, but the Phillies said afterward it is a bruise and a preliminary ultrasound exam came back negative. He could have more tests Monday, if needed.

It sounded much worse than a bruise when the pitch first struck him. It could be heard throughout the ballpark.

“It scared me,” said Asche, who is the favorite to be the Opening Day third baseman. “It feels like it should feel if you got hit by a pitch, but it doesn’t feel like it’s something serious. That’s good. They don’t seem concerned about a break.”

Asche Favorite for Opening Day Job

Cody AscheEverybody knew for weeks Ryne Sandberg eventually would be named Phillies manager.

Cody Asche is a similar favorite to be the team’s Opening Day third baseman in 2014.

“The leader, for me,” Sandberg said before tonight’s series finale against the Marlins at Marlins Park. “He’s the leading candidate right now. He’s proven he can play third base, if in fact that’s the spot that’s there. He’s proven defensively he can play third base. And I think his bat has played. He’s shown a good steady bat. I think down the stretch it’s turned into a little bit of a long season for him possibly. I understand that. But the work ethic and the quality swing for a young guy like that is pretty good.”

Asche is hitting .248 with eight doubles, one triple, five home runs, 22 RBIs and a .735 OPS in 166 plate appearances. He started his career 1-for-17 and currently is in a 1-for-18 slump, which Sandberg attributes to a long season for Asche, who has played 149 games after not playing more than 130 in a season in the past.

In between, he has impressed the front office, coaching staff and teammates.

“I’ve been impressed,” Sandberg said. “I think he’s really settled into the Major League atmosphere and this level. I think he’s over that part of it. He doesn’t seem to be in any awe of the Major League atmosphere. And that’s another thing that’s good about this team he’s spent here. And really with a lot of the guys. That’s a big thing, getting a taste of this.”

So will Sandberg tell Asche he is the favorite for the job when they have their season’s end exit interview?

“I’d say come in and be ready to win a job,” Sandberg said. “You’ve shown you can play here. You’ve shown you can play at this level. Come in and be ready to take the job. I might say that to 25 or 35 guys in the locker room. They might all get the same message. He’ll be one of the guys to hear that.”

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.”

Asche Injures Hammy

Cody Asche left tonight’s game against the Mets in the seventh inning with a mildly strained/cramped right hamstring.

Asche singled to right field when he pulled up lame running to first base.

“On the ball heading to the gap, he put a little extra into the run and felt a little something,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He’s day-to-day, but it felt a lot better. He felt if he would’ve run to first base and then made an out and came back in and would’ve been able to shake it off and sit, it would’ve been fine. Cramp symptoms.”

Sandberg said Asche would not play in tomorrow’s series finale as a precaution. He called Asche day-to-day.

Utility infielder John McDonald replaced him as a pinch-runner.

Asche is hitting .256 (22-for-86) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and 14 RBIs in 25 games. Since a 1-for-17 start to his big league career, Asche is hitting .304 (21-for-69).

And Then Depression Set In …

I can honestly say I have never covered a worse stretch of Phillies baseball than this. This is their worst 14-game stretch (1-13) since a 1-18 stretch Aug. 28 – Sept. 14, 1999. Just ugly to watch in every way.

Charlie Manuel expressed his frustrations last night. He has been handed a bad hand this season. If this is his final season with the Phillies — I suspect it is — then this is a sad way to leave.

On the offense:
“I think they’ve got to show more hunger, definitely when they’re hitting. Every guy in our lineup can square up one two or balls a night, sometimes they can square up three or four balls. And that’s how you get one or two hits and have a batting average. I don’t see no really getting after those at-bats. We look like we take it very casual. Like it’s ‘we’ll get ‘em next time.’ No, that’s not good enough. That’s what I see with our offense.”

On everything going south:
“I wish I could sit here and tell you we’re way better than that, but that’s what I’m trying to see — if they are better than that. You’re looking to see how good players are, I know I am.”

On another John Mayberry Jr. base running mistake:
“I can’t explain to you how the guy can be holding him on, how he can have a short lead, he doesn’t have what you call a lead at all and he gets picked off. I’m not throwing him under any bus or nothing like that. That’s what I saw.”

On mistakes like being picked off being inexcusable:
“That becomes inexcusable. When you’re playing like we are now, you’ve got to really be concentrating on staying focused and playing the game right and cutting down and eliminating mistakes. But at the same time, the more that you see mistakes and the more you see somebody keep making mistakes over and over and over and over, that might tell you what kind of player that he is. If I’m going to be responsible, I think other people have to be responsible too, especially the ones that play the game.”

On concerns younger players here might not learn right way to play because of the losing:
“I’m concerned about that, but also this is a game where you have to learn quick. Who to pick to talk to. It’s very important in any phase of life to find the positive people. Don’t be getting around nobody who is going to drag you down or be a whiner and stuff like that. If you want to be really good, I’m going to hang around somebody really good. I’ve seen some of those guys on the field that I’d hang around with. Someone like Mike Schmidt is going to be my buddy, not someone hitting the same as I’m hitting. I’m going to hang around with someone who’s better. I’m going to run around with (Harmon) Killebrew or Bob Allison and them. That’s who I ran around with and they were pretty good.”

*

I wonder if the Phillies will make a roster move to keep Cody Asche and Darin Ruf in the lineup once Domonic Brown rejoins the team Wednesday? Manuel said yesterday he plans to play Asche and Ruf regularly the rest of the season. Manuel also added Brown will be in the lineup everyday, too. That seems to create a decision for the Phillies. They decided to keep Michael Young rather than give him away in a trade. I don’t see them benching him — that wouldn’t make sense considering they can still trade him this month — which means he will be playing quite a bit at first base. So that leaves Ruf in left field. That could force Brown back to right, which means Delmon Young‘s day could be numbered.

I would say they could keep Young and release Laynce Nix, but that would not solve the problem of Ruf’s playing time because Nix rarely plays anyway.

The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a low-risk deal before the season because they thought he could provide power in right field for a team they hoped would make the postseason. But the Phillies are headed nowhere now, and his production doesn’t justify giving Ruf less of a look. Young is hitting just .263 with eight home runs, 31 RBIs and a .708 OPS in 285 plate appearances. If Young had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would rank 18th out of 22 rightfielders in baseball in OPS.

Asche Headed to Philly, Young Headed Elsewhere

ascheTriple-A third baseman Cody Asche is on his way to Citizens Bank Park, a strong indication Phillies third baseman Michael Young is headed elsewhere.

A source Tuesday confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report Asche, who is one of the organization’s top prospects, will join the team. The Phillies have been looking for ways to retool for next season, and Young always has been the most likely Phillies player to be traded before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

Young has been linked most closely to the Red Sox and Orioles. The Rangers also have been mentioned although a source told MLB.com over the weekend a reunion with the Rangers is unlikely. What is interesting about that is FOX Sports has reported Young, who has a full no-trade clause, has only approved a trade to the Rangers.

Young is in the final season of his contract and is unlikely to be resigned. He also has value for a postseason contender as a veteran corner infielder with postseason experience and previous experience as a DH.

Asche is hitting .295 with 24 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, 68 RBIs and .837 OPS in 446 plate appearances this season with the IronPigs. He is hitting .323 with 10 homers, 34 RBIs and a .935 OPS in 222 plate appearances since the end of May.

The Phillies acquired Young in a trade with the Rangers in December for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. Young is hitting .277 with 18 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 32 RBIs and a .743 OPS in 398 plate appearances.

Roster Moves; Asche and Joseph Impressed

Cody Asche, Tommy JosephThe Phillies made eight roster moves today:

They reassigned left-hander Adam Morgan; right-handers J.C. Ramirez and Kyle Simon; infielder Michael Martinez; catcher Tommy Joseph; and third baseman Cody Asche to Minor League camp. They also optioned left-hander Joe Savery, and released outfielder Joe Mather.

They informed right-handers Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin and outfielder Zach Collier they will be optioned Monday.

Asche and Joseph impressed. Asche hit .357 (5-for-14) with two doubles, two walks and two strikeouts in eight games. Joseph hit .462 (6-for-13) with two doubles, one home run and two RBIs in six games. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and third baseman Michael Young will be free agents after the season, so if Asche and Joseph continue to develop with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season the Phillies could have some interesting decisions to make in the offseason.

Could Asche and Joseph be significant contributors in 2014?

“Next season, maybe. Maybe,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Not 2013 necessarily. It’s a possibility. It’s hard to tell. A lot of it will depend on how they continue to advance. Neither one of these guys have played Triple-A baseball.”

“They still need to put together solid seasons,” Charlie Manuel said. “They need a little more experience. But at the same time they’re more advanced than I thought they were … than I expected. Very much so.”

Manuel also complimented Morgan, Martin and Pettibone.

“They’re going to pitch in the big leagues,” Manuel said.

The Phillies didn’t see Savery in competition for one of the team’s three job openings in the bullpen. Martinez wasn’t a candidate to be one of the team’s utility infielders.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 277 other followers