Phillies

Will we see more of Roman Quinn than Odubel Herrera down the stretch?

Phillies

This healthy stretch from Roman Quinn has come at the perfect time for the Phillies.

Quinn is back in the starting lineup Friday night against the Mets, playing center field just as he did in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader. 

He's earned his way into more playing time by making an impact at the plate, in the field and on the bases. He's the Phillies' best defensive outfielder and best baserunner, and with how Odubel Herrera is trending right now, Quinn offers similar (if not more) offensive value.

Quinn was 3 for 6 in Thursday's doubleheader with two steals and two runs scored. Herrera, meanwhile, has just one multi-hit game in his last 10. He's gone 27 straight games without scoring twice.

Has Quinn supplanted Herrera for now?

"Openly, we don't have jobs like that," manager Gabe Kapler said Friday. "Guys come ready to play baseball every single day. Quinny's gonna come ready to be deployed off the bench, play center field, play right field. We saw how dynamic he was last night. He earned and deserved the opportunity to go start in center field today.

"Each day lives independently of the last. We don't have any research that indicates that because a guy performed well yesterday, he's going to perform well today. But we also have to be responsive to and not be tone-deaf to how people are feeling about how much energy a guy like Roman Quinn brings to the field. 

"And so being responsive to that and saying yeah, I feel like we get a big boost when he's in the lineup. Or even when we send him out to pinch-run, everybody kind of moves a little bit closer to the rail to watch what unfolds. I want to be responsive to that and that's why I say he's earned the right to go out there and start in center field tonight for us."

 

Herrera is down to .269/.323/.445 on the season. Since June 25, a span of 40 starts, Herrera has hit .207 with a .261 OBP. He's struck out nearly once a game during that period and walked once every four games. Many of his plate appearances have ended weakly, with a swing at a pitch out of the strike zone or a rollover to the right side. 

When Herrera is going cold, many in this city get ready to give up on him. But he does have stretches of immense value, such as his first 73 games of the season when he hit .305 with an .863 OPS. 

The issue is that his slumps tend to be prolonged, and during them, Herrera becomes a near-zero at the plate because he isn't making up for the lack of hits by working counts and taking walks.

During these down periods, Quinn becomes a necessary and useful insurance policy. It's one of several reasons his health is so vital to the Phillies, especially with 41 remaining regular-season games that basically double as playoff games.

"He's an awesome weapon for us," Kapler said. "We're lucky to have him."

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