Five things we learned from the Phillies-Pirates series

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May 20, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders (5) has a foul ball fall from his glove against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 20, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders (5) has a foul ball fall from his glove against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 19, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Aaron Altherr (23) signs autographs for fans prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Altherr is cooling off rapidly

Aaron Altherr has been a bright spot in the Phillies lineup, hitting .311 with eight home runs in place of the injured Howie Kendrick. He’s hitting so well that many have begun to add him to the team’s future championship lineup projections, an idea months ago that would’ve been ludicrous.

After a rough series against Texas coming off the sore wrist, how Altherr performed in Pittsburgh would be a major tell towards if he’s really this kind of hitter.

Like in Texas, the German outfielder struggled to swing the bat, ending the series 1-for-12 with four strikeouts. It may simply be the wrist affecting his swing, him making an adjustment to deal with any pain. Or, it’s that the pixie dust wore off on Altherr, who’s back to his old self.

Because he was so dominant going into the road trip the chances will continue for Altherr, but if the bat stays cold whenever Howie Kendrick is clear to return, Altherr will be back on the bench.

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