By Jennie Morse
Maikel Franco really broke out!
He came to the plate in the third inning of last night’s 6-4 victory over the Mets at Citi Field last night in an 0-for-22 slump.
He had not picked up a hit since April 12 at Citizens Bank Park. But Franco ended the slide, ripping a 1-2 fastball from Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard to left field for an RBI double.
He then hit a solo homer to left field in the eighth inning to finish the game 2-for-4 with one walk and two RBIs.
“Amazing,” Franco said. “I haven’t given up, every single at-bat is not taken for granted. I’m just going out there and trying to prove myself. I just want to get better, I want to swing the bat good and put good contact on it.”
The funny thing is that Franco has been making good contact. He entered the game with an average exit velocity of 91.7 mph, which ranked 18th out of 184 batters who put the ball in play 30 or more times this season, according to Statcast™.
His .136 BABIP was 190th out of 194 qualified hitters. The league average was .286.
Franco also was seeing more pitches, striking out less and walking more. He was seeing 3.93 pitches per plate appearance this season compared to 3.56 last season. He was striking out once every 6.67 plate appearances compared to once every 5.94 last season. He was walking once every 12 plate appearances compared to once every 15.75 last season.
Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs said it was surprising to see Franco’s numbers where they are, considering how hard he has worked on his hitting. He thinks some of Franco’s struggles come from missing a few good pitches to hit.
“If you go back and look at the film, he’s had some pitches to hit,” Stairs said. “I think his timing is off a little bit. His foot is getting down late, which is causing him to miss those pitches. He is running into some bad luck, but I’m not going to say that’s the reason why he is hitting what he is hitting. He’s made some easy outs on some balls that he should be hitting.
“His attitude has been good. He is taking some walks, which is a bonus. He’s seeing some pitches, which is a bonus. I’m happy with that. Am I worried about him? No. It takes one swing to turn it around. That’s all.”