Joe Girardi made a change at the end of May to the top of the Phillies’ batting order, moving Andrew McCutchen from leadoff to sixth in Tampa Bay.
It was the lowest McCutchen had hit in the order since signing with the Phillies before the 2019 season but the team needed a spark as he was slumping.
Odubel Herrera moved to the top of the order, where he hit regularly from 2015-17 before he lost it at the plate. The change has agreed with both players and the Phillies have had probably their best two-week stretch of the season offensively.
In his last 10 games since moving to the leadoff spot, Herrera has hit .348 with seven extra-base hits and 11 runs scored. The Phillies are 7-3 in those games.
Jean Segura has spent that same 10-game stretch in the two-hole and been the Phillies’ best bat, hitting .415 and driving in eight runs. He’s picked up clutch hit after clutch hit.
McCutchen has also been better in his new spot, going 13 for 38 (.342) with four doubles and five RBI.
“When you have guys at the top of your order hot, you’re going to score runs, that’s the bottom line. I think our order is a lot longer,” Girardi said after Sunday’s 7-0 win over the Yankees.
“I like what they’ve done and I’ve also liked what Cutch has done, driving in runs. He’s been an RBI producer for years and they kinda moved him back to leadoff, different teams did because he’s an on-base guy. But he knows how to hit in those situations.”
The Phillies are averaging 6.8 runs per game in June. They scored 17 runs on June 1, but even without that game they’ve averaged 5.5, which is more than a run per game above the league average.
“I think there’s a couple of different variables, one being that I’m able to not feel like I’ve got to jump right into the at-bats,” McCutchen said of the switch from one to six. “You kind of get a moment to breathe. That may be one of the reasons. Also being able to hit with runners on base, runners in scoring position, that’s been beneficial for me as well. I like doing that. It gives you a minute to settle down and then take the at-bat. It’s been good thus far, hopefully we can just continue that.”
The Phillies’ biggest key this month has been Segura, who is the first Phillie to have three straight games with at least three hits since Ben Revere in 2015. The only National League player with more three-hit games than Segura is Cincinnati’s Jesse Winker.
Segura is up to .339 on the season and making a push for his third All-Star appearance. It could go either way with guys like Adam Frazier, Ozzie Albies and Ryan McMahon also in the picture at second base.
Segura has a higher batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in this three-year run with the Phillies than he had previously in seven seasons.
“Odubel has done a tremendous job filling in, being the leadoff guy that we need and Segura has been Segura,” McCutchen said.
“I joked with somebody today and said Segura is the Steph Curry of Major League Baseball. As easy as Steph hits a three is as easy as Seggy gets hits.”