PHOENIX — There’s an old saying that goes: If you hit, they’ll find a place for you.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler’s handling of the shortstop position the last few days is a testament to that old saying.
Kapler had been on record as saying he would likely use Scott Kingery at shortstop over Asdrubal Cabrera on days when Aaron Nola or Jake Arrieta pitched. Both pitchers produce a predominance of ground balls and Kingery has more range than Cabrera.
But Cabrera’s hot bat had him in the lineup for a third straight game Monday night — batting fifth and playing shortstop behind Arrieta. On Sunday, Cabrera played shortstop behind Nola.
Entering Monday night’s game, Cabrera had homered in two straight games — both wins — and drove in four runs.
Kapler acknowledged his previous thinking in regard to having Kingery at shortstop behind Nola and Arrieta.
But everything is subject to change when you’re in a pennant race.
“We wanted to have our best defense in there for ground balls for Nola and Jake for obvious reasons,” Kapler said before Monday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. “So, what we saw from Asdrubal gave us a lot of confidence that he can make all the plays necessary to be good behind those guys. Scott might have more range, but Asdrubal is going to catch the ball and he's also going to provide us with a nice, deep lineup. We know that we're going to have to score some runs against this team.
“To really look at this fairly, you have to say Asdrubal gives us our best chance to score runs, and that's why he's in our lineup tonight. And he's playing a good shortstop.”