Phillies getting wacky with lineups as they try to find offense

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MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: Carlos Santana #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by Rhys Hoskins #17 after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: Carlos Santana #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by Rhys Hoskins #17 after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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With the offense sputtering, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is throwing everything at the wall to hopefully turn things around.

Just over three weeks ago, I wrote that the Phillies were largely done with shifting their lineup around. They had seemingly found some stability, something that wasn’t there all season long.

Since I wrote that article, Philadelphia has gone 8-13, clinging onto their playoff hopes for dear life. During this time, the team ranks 28th in batting average, 20th in runs scored, third in strikeouts, and 23rd in OPS.

As the offense has flailed, manager Gabe Kapler has tried numerous lineup combinations to get things started. Tuesday’s 9-4 win was their highest-scoring game since Aug. 16. The team is hoping for a series win for the first time in a month Wednesday night. Kapler is trying to get as many strong bats as possible into the lineup to win the series, as evidenced by Wednesday’s lineup:

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  1. 3B Carlos Santana
  2. 1B Justin Bour
  3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
  4. LF Rhys Hoskins
  5. RF Nick Williams
  6. 2B Cesar Hernandez
  7. C Jorge Alfaro
  8. P Nick Pivetta
  9. CF Roman Quinn

No, that is not a typo. Santana is starting at third base for the first time since May 22, 2014. He is taking the place of Maikel Franco, whose sore right wrist has kept him out of the lineup recently.

Franco jammed it during the weekend series with the Blue Jays Aug. 24-26, and it is still in pain. He was one of the most consistent bats over the last two months and now may miss the most crucial part of the season.

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This is also the sixth time Santana has led off this season. He has hit in each game he led off, including a leadoff home run to start off Tuesday’s win. Santana certainly isn’t the prototypical leadoff hitter, but Hernandez has struggled while Santana has reached base consistently all season long.

Putting Santana at third allows Bour into the lineup and keeps Scott Kingery out. While the team is certainly sacrificing some defense by having Kingery on the bench, they keep a lineup drag out of the lineup. Kingery’s .613 OPS is the third-lowest among qualified hitters, while Bour has a .757 OPS this year.

Quinn has unofficially become the starting center fielder over Odubel Herrera. Quinn has been a spark plug since being called up, hitting .346 with three triples and six doubles in 32 games. He has a .389 batting average and .933 OPS hitting ninth in 18 games this year, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is a strategy Kapler will continue to use in September.

Next. Hoskins nominated for Roberto Clemente award. dark

With a fly-ball pitcher on the mound in Pivetta, Kapler has the chance to get as many strong bats into the infield as possible. Philadelphia needs as much offense as possible, so expect Kapler to continue to do this as the season winds down.

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