Phillies

Phillies 3, Braves 1: Cesar Hernandez homers in win, possible Phillies’ swan song

/ by Jim Salisbury
Presented By CureObservations
Phillies

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Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis signed with the Phillies on the same summer day in 2006.

Last offseason, Galvis’ long run with the team ended when he was traded to San Diego for pitcher Enyel De Los Santos.

This offseason, it could be Hernandez’s turn to go. The veteran second baseman has been available in trades the last two winters, but no team has met the Phillies’ high price.

The price could be lower now as the Phillies look to clear a spot at second base for Scott Kingery.

Hernandez, a regular at second base for four seasons, started at his customary spot for the Phillies in Sunday’s season finale and if it was his last game with the club, he went out in style. He led off the bottom of the first inning with his 15th homer, a career-high, to help the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-1, at Citizens Bank Park.

Salvage city

The Phils ended up winning their final two games of the season after losing nine straight.

They finished the season 80-82 — third-place in the NL East. They had 14 more wins than last season. But it could have been so much better. They went 16-33 after being 15 games over .500 and leading the NL East by 1½ game on Aug. 7.

The Phils have had six straight losing seasons.

Sneak peak

Manager Gabe Kapler used eight pitchers on the final day. Lefty Ranger Suarez allowed one run over three innings. He struck out five and walked two. Suarez looks to have an idea of what he’s doing. He will be in the mix for more work next season. He was coveted by Baltimore in mid-season trade talks involving Manny Machado.

 

The experiment continues

Carlos Santana started at third base for the 16th time this month and Rhys Hoskins played first base.

The Phils first started using Santana at third so they could get Justin Bour’s bat in the lineup at first base. Then they kept him there and moved Hoskins from left field to first base so they could improve their outfield defense.

Moving parts aside, Santana got the job done at third base. He made an eye-popping play last week in Denver another Sunday.

Santana won’t win a Gold Glove and won’t dazzle with his range. There might be times when his defense hurts the club. But with the Phillies likely to make a run at free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper this winter, playing Santana at third next season and keeping Hoskins at his natural first base position definitely appears to be a consideration. Why else would the team have taken the month to evaluate Santana at the position?

Santana is open to playing anywhere, as long as he is in the lineup (see story).

“We don’t know the answer to that yet,” general manager Matt Klentak said of the situation. “A lot of that may depend on other roster mechanics this offseason. But we can be a winning baseball team with (Santana and Hoskins) on the roster.”

At the turnstiles

A crowd of 34,202 was in the house on fan-appreciation day Sunday. That left the Phils with a final home attendance of 2,155,695. That does not include the “home” game that the Phils played against the Mets in Williamsport.

The Phils drew 1,905,354 last season. That had not reached 2 million in attendance since 2014.

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