Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera is off to a good start in his new role.
Over the last few games, Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi has batted outfielder Odubel Herrera first in the starting lineup. Former Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen — who usually hits leadoff — has switched places and has recently batted sixth.
While it’s a very small sample size and the Phillies have still lost two of their last three games, this switch has yielded some intriguing results early on.
Phillies fans have watched McCutchen struggle for most of the season thus far. In 57 games, he has 57 strikeouts and a .243 batting average on balls put in play, which currently ranks the 13th-worst in MLB. When the 34-year-old has hit first in the lineup, he has slashed .199/.318/.373. Most fans believe that McCutchen’s age might be catching up with him. Despite his struggles, he still has a .330 on-base percentage on the year, which is impressive considering his overall performance. Outside of that, he has been off to a slow start.
Herrera, on the other hand, got off to a slow start when he was called up, but has been one of the Phillies’ hottest hitters in the past few weeks. Since May 11, Herrera is hitting .329 with 13 runs scored and a .955 OPS.
With the injuries and poor performance from the team as a whole, they had to try something new. This switch at the leadoff hitter spot made a lot of sense. It won’t solve the plethora of problems this team has, but it’s the right move.