Maybe it’s a fluke, but the Phillies biggest disappointment was their biggest star Friday night
Lost in the midst of the Phillies 9-6 loss in Milwaukee was the performance of third baseman Maikel Franco at the plate.
Continuing to hit in the .220 range this season, Franco has been the biggest target of criticism for fans. Against Milwaukee, however, Franco collected four hits and two RBIs in the team loss.
A fielding error at third scuffs the otherwise impressive performance by Franco.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak always points to Franco’s exit velocity, or the speed of the ball off the bat. Franco’s exit velocity has always been a strength but rarely results in offensive production.
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Perhaps it was just Franco continuing to hit well at Miller Park, which he’s done consistently through his young career. He’s collected 11 hits in four games in Milwaukee and has a career .326 batting average against the Brewers in 11 games between the Bank and Miller Park.
Philadelphia had an opportunity to win their 30th game, and be the last team in baseball to do so on Friday evening. Starter Nick Pivetta allowed eight runs in the second inning, nearly all of which came on a Ryan Braun grand slam and a three-run bomb by Orlando Arcia.
Otherwise, Pivetta showed some good stuff, something Jayson Stark highlighted during the game.
Phils hitters ultimately struck out 12 times, although they had no help from home plate umpire Dan Bellino and his liberal strike zone. Nick Williams was the biggest victim of Milwaukee’s pitching, striking out four times mostly on high pitches over his bat.
To make matters worse, Aaron Altherr left with a mild right hamstring strain after collecting two hits, bringing in Cam Perkins only to go 0-2.
If the All-Star break allowed the 24-year-old Franco to clear his head, let’s hope it continues on for the remainder of the season.