Phillies have playing time conundrum in September

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of the batting helmet of Andrew Knapp
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of the batting helmet of Andrew Knapp /

The Phillies have so many different players they want to get into the lineup in September, but there is only so much playing time that can go around.

The Phillies actually have a lot of players we want to see right now, which fans have not been able to say for quite some time. However, they are starting to reach a critical mass with how many players they want to get action and how few spots there are in the lineup on any given day.

The outfield situation is going to get complicated quickly as soon as Aaron Altherr gets back to full health. Right now, the starting outfield consists of Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, and Nick Williams. All four have been among the team’s best hitters this season, so leaving them out of the lineup isn’t the best option.

The outfield situation could be cleared up by playing Hoskins at his natural position, first base. However, for whatever reason, the team is hell-bent on getting Tommy Joseph as much playing time as possible down the stretch in hopes of an offseason trade. Because every team wants a right-handed hitting first baseman who is among the worst, if not the worst, in most of the major offensive statistics.

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The playing time conundrum only gets worse when you look at the rest of the infield. With J.P. Crawford now in the majors, it would make a fair amount of sense to see how he performs at his natural position, shortstop, in these last few weeks of the season.

Mackanin said he wants Crawford to play five or six games at shortstop, but that is complicated by the fact that he wants Freddy Galvis to play all 162 games this season.

While a nice sign of durability, it won’t change anyone’s perspective of Galvis if he doesn’t quite reach that watermark. To get Galvis to play 162 and have Crawford play shortstop, Galvis would have to play another position. He played one game in center field during a doubleheader last week, but to do that again would only further complicate the aforementioned outfield situation.

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For now, Crawford may have to be content with playing third or second base. He debuted at third Tuesday night in place of Maikel Franco. If given the option, I would much rather have Franco on the bench compared to Cesar Hernandez, but I’m sure Hernandez will get benched for Crawford at least once or twice by the end of the season.

And I haven’t even mentioned how difficult it will be to balance playing time behind the plate between Jorge Alfaro, Cameron Rupp, and Andrew Knapp once Knapp returns from the disabled list.

Alfaro has hit .362 since being called up this season, but Mackanin still mixes Rupp into the lineup just as much. Once Knapp comes back, getting all three of them consistent at-bats will be nearly impossible, especially with the other position logjams.

Plus, there are still all the reserve players that Mackanin has to work in like Daniel Nava, Hyun-Soo Kim, Andres Blanco, and Ty Kelly.

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Getting all these players at-bats the rest of this season will be quite the balancing act, hard for any manager to do. If Mackanin can somehow find a way to do it, everyone in Philadelphia will be surprised.