Roberto Hernandez, who won the rubber game with seven shutout innings, looks like he could be a viable starter. Jimmy Rollins, who had four hits on Saturday and a key triple on Sunday, looks like he might have found the fountain of youth, albeit temporarily. The team is only 1.5 games out of first place.
Yet there is a nagging hole in the lineup and that’s third base, one caused by the demotion of reliable veteran third baseman Kevin Frandsen at the beginning of this season. Frandsen played well for the Phillies in a part-time role a year ago yet was demoted to triple A Lehigh Valley before the Phillies played their first game. Rather than accept the demotion, Frandsen signed with the Nationals, where he is hitting .289.
That’s where the hole in the lineup comes in because Cody Asche is struggling at third base. The Phillies do not really have any other options for that position because Asche’s heir apparent, Maikel Franco, is also struggling, but in triple-A. Asche’s confidence appears to be shaken and the Phillies do not want to rush Franco up before he is ready, so Frandsen would have been a nice insurance plan.
Any excitement over the weekend series win has to be tempered by that reality. Now there is no such plan and the Phillies have to hope Asche gets good real fast in order to fill a big hole in the lineup long-term — and hope is never a good fallback plan.