Today’s sobering baseball thought is that even if the Philadelphia Phillies won an all-sports record 41 straight games, they would finish with 94 wins. That’s short of the 97 games won by the 1993 Phillies, which was the third-best in the NL that year. The Phillies sit at 53-68 now with 41 games remaining in the season.
The only reason that statistic is important now is that it points a finger in the direction the Phillies need to go for the final six weeks of the season. They need to play Cesar Hernandez at second, Darin Ruf at first and bring up Maikel Franco from Lehigh Valley to at least platoon at third with current starter Cody Asche.
As much as Chase Utley is a cult fan favorite in Philadelphia, there is no need for his arthritic knees to be trotted out there every day now. What would it prove? We know he can hit and handle the rigors of second base. We do not know if Hernandez can or not.
Six weeks would be the perfect laboratory experiment to find that out. If Hernandez can hit, say, .300 or better and field the second base position flawlessly, then the Phillies do not need to trade for a second baseman in the offseason. Platooning Asche and Franco at third for six weeks would give the Phillies data needed to make the decision on which player to move to another position. Franco won the Triple A version of the Gold Glove and has a higher power upside than Asche.
Ruf playing first every day instead of Ryan Howard would give the Phils six solid weeks of comparing Ruf numbers against Howard’s six-week numbers. Let’s face it: Ruf has never been given an extended look at his natural position, first base. He deserves one now.
The decision to go with the young kids should be a no-brainier for any organization in the position the Phillies find themselves in now. That said, they probably won’t do it because the reason they got to 53-68 could be they have no brains at all.