By Sam Bush
So, where is Maikel Franco when the Phillies need him?
In Lehigh Valley, thank you very much, and after a woeful start he has raised his average to .241 after a 2-for-4 night last night helped the Iron Bigs to a win.
Two Cody Asche errors led to a four-run sixth inning for the Angels, who went on to beat the Phils 4-3. Asche added another error in the seventh, becoming the first Phillie third baseman since David Bell in 2005 to commit three errors in a single game.
Those runs foiled a solid start by the snakebitten Cliff Lee, who pitched seven innings and gave up those four unearned runs on six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.23.
The Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth, thanks to Chase Utley’s RBI triple that scored Ben Revere and an RBI single by Ryan Howard past a drawn-in L.A. infield.
Had it not been for those two Asche errors in the sixth, the Phillies would have been able to ruin the homecoming of Mike Trout, who had a relatively quiet night in his return to Philly. Trout went 1-for-5 with a strikeout and made only a handful of routine plays in the outfield.
Asche has struggled this season in his first real taste of major league action. He had been benched at various times this year, and after an 0-for-3 night on Tuesday, his batting average dropped to .226 on the season. And now, Maikel Franco is getting hot.
Franco also scored a run and three RBIs for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night, and you can bet the calls for the young third baseman will grow even louder.
We’ll see how long the Phillies can resist.