Results tagged ‘ Cody Asche ’
They received strong starting pitching performances in four of six games. The pitching staff as a whole has a 3.38 ERA, which is 11th in baseball. They showed some fight as Ryne Sandberg said following today’s 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Nationals. The Phillies overcame a seventh-inning deficit to win Friday, an eighth-inning deficit to win in 10 innings Saturday and tied the game in the seventh inning yesterday. They gave up two runs in the 10th, but made things interesting with a run scored in the bottom of the inning.
But the gigantic red flag that flapped in the wind in Clearwater, Fla., planted itself at home plate in Philadelphia:
The Phillies are 28th in baseball with a .563 OPS, a percentage point or two ahead of the Mets (.563) and Twins (.515). They have scored just 16 runs in six games. Only the Twins (13) and Nationals (13) have scored fewer. They have hit just two home runs. Only the Twins (1) and Marlins (1) have hit fewer.
Everybody knew the offense would be an issue, which is why we have seen Sandberg use six lineups in seven games (including today’s game). He is searching for a winning combination, trying to find decent match ups and hot bats whenever they are available, although it will be interesting to see how he balances what is supposed to be a developmental year with his desire to win that night’s game. For example, he benched Cody Asche on Friday and Saturday for Andres Blanco. Sandberg said he liked the spark Blanco provided, but the Phillies should want to give Asche as many opportunities to play as possible this season. He could be part of the Phillies’ future, either at third base, left field or wherever. Blanco is not.
The same holds true for Ruf, who snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a pinch-hit homer this afternoon, and others.
A lot of people are unhappy with Ryan Howard, who struck out four times in four at-bats today. But you might as well relax because he is going to continue to play. First, who is he holding back? Ruf had 12 at-bats this week, which should be enough to show what he can do. And even if Maikel Franco were the hottest hitter in Triple-A, he would remain there until the end of May for the same reason Cubs prospect Kris Bryant opened the season in Triple-A: team control for an extra year. Second, it’s one week. I’m not suggesting Howard will return to MVP form with more time, but it doesn’t make sense to pull the plug on somebody owed $60 million just one week into the season.
The team is going to to struggle and Howard might struggle along with it, but he should get a good look.
“He’s just not playing good enough baseball yet,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today at Citizens Bank Park. “He’s not really ready to be a big-leaguer yet.”
Franco returned to the IronPigs lineup yesterday after missing a couple days with an upper respiratory issue. He is hitting .231 with four home runs, 19 RBIs and a .669 OPS this season after a poor start, but he has hit .292 with an .851 OPS in 27 games since April 22.
But in those last 27 games, he is hitting just .125 (3 for 24) in his last seven.
Asche is on the DL with a strained left hamstring. The Phillies said they hope Asche can return June 7, when he is eligible to be activated. If that happens, it means there are just 10 more days for Franco to get a call up.
That isn’t much of a window to suddenly become a big leaguer in the eyes and minds of the Phillies front office. Meanwhile, Cesar Hernandez continues to play third base in Asche’s absence. He entered Tuesday hitting .129 (4-for-31).
“There’s no reason to bring Franco unless he’s ready to be a big leaguer as far as I’m concerned,” Amaro said. “If he puts together a few days. Offensively, he’s made some adjustments, he’s made some improvements better than in the earlier part of the season, but he’s not really going on all cylinders now. We’re still contemplating it. We’ll see how it goes.”
Are there Chase Utley trade rumors? If not, there will be soon, unless the team begins to play well.
“They surface because he’s a good player and we’re not in first place, that’s why they surface,” Amaro said.
But Amaro downplayed the suggestion the Phillies would trade one of their more iconic players.
“First off, no one wants to trade Chase Utley and No.2 I don’t think Chase Utley wants to go anywhere and he has the power to decide what he wants to do,” Amaro said. “The point is kind of moot. The same with Jimmy (Rollins). The same story.”
It became clear why a couple hours later when the team announced Asche had been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The Phillies recalled right-hander Justin De Fratus from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place on the roster.
The Phillies had been a man short in the bullpen since placing right-hander Luis Garcia on the DL on Friday, which is why they replaced a position player with a pitcher.
Asche only shrugged this morning when asked if his left hamstring had improved. He had not played since Thursday because of the injury. He tested the hamstring in the morning with some light jogging.
“No improvement,” Ryne Sandberg said.
Asche said yesterday he has been playing through the discomfort for about six or seven games. The athletic training staff had been treating it, but it did not like the way it seemed to be headed.
They hoped rest could help.
“We’re just trying to kill it right now,” Asche said yesterday. “We’ve got a pretty important stretch right now.”
Asche had been playing well offensively this month, hitting .317 with five doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs and a .956 OPS in 17 games.
Cesar Hernandez started his third consecutive game at third base today.
Asche is battling tendinitis in the left hamstring tendon. Cesar Hernandez started at third for a second consecutive game.
“Nothing severe,” Asche said. “I’ve been playing through it for about six or seven games. I don’t think the training staff really liked the way it was headed, so we’re just trying to kill it right now. We’ve got a pretty important stretch right now.”
Asche missed some time in early April because of a hamstring issue.
“It’s a little bit different,” he said.
It was a brutal night last night at Citizens Bank Park. It rained throughout the 6-1 loss. The wind never stopped blowing. The first-pitch temperature sat at 46 degrees. Hamels could not grip the ball. But knowing the Phillies had no games scheduled Monday and Thursday and with more rain scheduled Wednesday, the Phillies needed to play Tuesday otherwise they would go Monday through Thursday without playing a single game. And regardless of the conditions, sometimes you need to play to fit in a 162-game schedule.
Hamels walked four batters in an inning for the first time in his career. He walked a runner home for the fifth time in his career. Not a good night.
Jayson Nix went 0-for-3 last night, dropping Phillies third basemen’s OPS to a miniscule .478, which is the lowest mark in baseball. According to Stats Inc., the 1981 Blue Jays had a .516 OPS from their third basemen, which is the lowest mark in the majors from 1974-2013. Cody Asche‘s .584 OPS is better than Nix’s .446 and Freddy Galvis‘ .124. I understand Galvis is the team’s best defensive player, but he’s going to have to hit eventually because in the long run the defensive benefits won’t outweigh the offensive black hole he represents in the lineup.
And if you believe in modern metrics, Galvis has a -0.8 WAR, while Asche has a -0.7 and Nix has a -0.1.
Galvis had a .668 OPS last season. The Phillies would kill for that right now.
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 …
The 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”