Phillies

Today's Lineup: Maikel Franco moves to first base; Aaron Altherr back starting

Today's Lineup: Maikel Franco moves to first base; Aaron Altherr back starting

Sunday's Phillies lineup for the series finale in D.C. at Nationals Park is quite an interesting one, to say the least.

Could it be a glimpse into the plans for 2018?

Maikel Franco will make just his eighth career appearance at first base, J.P. Crawford is back at third base and Aaron Altherr makes his first start since coming off the disabled list this afternoon vs. the Nats.

Franco, who's batting fifth today, has not started at first base since June 24, 2015, when he started the second of two straight games there during interleague play against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin wants to get Crawford, batting eighth today, as many at bats as possible, but Franco did go 2 for 4 with a home run last night and has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games. In that span, Franco has hit .275 with four doubles, three homers, 6 RBIs and 10 runs scored. Franco's average is still just .226 on the season, but there is a reason to keep his bat in the lineup with the way he's swung it over the last two weeks or so.

That means Crawford's playing time will come today at the expense of Tommy Joseph, who's just 6 for his last 34 at the plate, a .176 average in that span.

Altherr, who's hitting .285 on the season with 16 homers and 49 RBIs and been the Phillies' best hitter this season this side of Rhys Hoskins, starts in center today in place of Odubel Herrera. It marks Altherr's first start since Aug. 4 in Colorado when he reaggravated his hamstring injury. He appeared in a defensive replacement role in last night's win, but he didn't record an at-bat. He'll bat sixth today.

And, yes, of course, Hoskins will be back in the lineup after going yard last night for the 14th time this season. He'll be in left and bat clean-up.

Rookie Ben Lively gets the start for the Phils. The 25-year-old is 3-5 on the season with a 3.92 ERA and is coming off a stellar performance last week in New York vs. the Mets. He hurled seven innings of one-run ball and even drilled his first career homer in a 9-1 victory.

He'll be opposed by Nats star fireballer Stephen Strasburg, who enters today's contest with a 12-4 record and a 2.78 ERA. He's just been exceptional this season and has proved it against the Phils in three starts. He ended up with a no-decision while giving up three runs over seven innings in a 4-3 Phils win on April 9. He ended up with another no-decision after seven innings of two-run ball in an eventual Nats win on April 14. He wasn't his sharpest on May 5 but earned a win after 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball.

Both teams' full lineups for today's series finale can be found below:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Maikel Franco, 1B
6. Aaron Altherr, CF
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. J.P. Crawford, 3B
9. Ben Lively, SP

Nationals
1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Adrian Sanchez, 3B
3. Wilmer Difo, 2B
4. Adam Lind, 1B
5. Victor Robles, CF
6. Andrew Stevenson, LF
7. Pedro Severino, C
8. Rafael Bautista, RF
9. Stephen Strasburg, SP

Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Kyle. Freakin'. Schwarber.

Rhys Hoskins put on a show in the Home Run Derby Monday night in Washington, D.C., but he, unfortunately, faced off against Schwarber in the second round and Schwarber went off.

Hoskins hit 20 in the semifinal round, which to that point was the most all night. Schwarber started rather slowly, but began cranking jack after jack and hit his 21st just as the four-minute clock expired.

It was a dramatic walk-off from Schwarber, but he actually had 30 more seconds to play with because he hit two homers farther than 440 feet and was awarded some extra time.

In the other semifinal, Bryce Harper beat Max Muncy 13-12. Smh. Harper went on to knock off Schwarber in the final round to claim the Home Run Derby title.

In all, Hoskins hit 37 homers in two rounds, with the deepest two going 466 and 463 feet. He homered on nearly half of his swings.

An extremely impressive first showing in the derby for Hoskins, who may want to return because of the unfinished business.

First round

Leading off the derby, Hoskins cranked 17 jacks to upset 1-seed Jesus Aguilar, who hit 11.

With 17, Hoskins tied Muncy for the most in the first round, though Muncy and Harper stopped before time expired because they had already beaten their opponent.

Hoskins just had a much quicker pace than Aguilar, who took his time between swings, as did his pitcher.

Entering the night, Hoskins was 11/2 to win the derby, per Bovada. Aguilar had the second-shortest odds at 7/2, behind only Harper.

A cool moment occurred midway through the first round when Hoskins called his one permitted timeout and fist bumped with Harper, who was expressing awe at the ease of Hoskins' homers.


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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

Adam Haseley had one heck of a first week in Double A.

The Phillies' first-round pick in 2017 (eighth overall) was promoted to Double A Reading on July 11 and responded by going 5 for 13 (.385) with a double, two homers and two walks in his first four games.

As a result, Haseley was named Eastern League Player of the Week in his very first try.

Haseley has already been promoted four times over the last calendar year. Last summer, he began in the Gulf Coast League, was promoted to Low A Williamsport after three games, then made it to Class A Lakewood by season's end. 

He began this season at High A Clearwater and earned the promotion to Reading after hitting .300 in 354 plate appearances.

All told, Haseley has hit .296/.352/.423 with 27 doubles, seven triples and 10 homers in 616 plate appearances in the minors. 

The 22-year-old University of Virginia product was a more polished prospect than the previous year's No. 1 pick, Mickey Moniak

Moniak, who turned 20 on May 13, has hit .242 with a meager .268 OBP in 75 games at Clearwater this season. The power has been slow to come around, and Moniak has slashed just .247/.290/.350 in 999 plate appearances the last three seasons.

There's still plenty of time for Moniak, but he can't be satisfied with how he's hit to this point, nor can an organization that used the first overall pick in the draft on him. Some baseball people have questioned whether Moniak will grow strong enough to consistently drive the baseball as the quality of pitching he faces increases. 

Rounding out the first-round pick updates, Cornelius Randolph has struggled even more than Moniak. Randolph, drafted 10th overall in 2015, has hit .215 with one home run in 80 games at Double A this season. 

Randolph was drafted for his offense specifically but things haven't clicked yet. He's hit .252/.346/.362 with 17 homers in 1,328 plate appearances since being drafted.

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