By Annie Ross
Four hundred forty-eight feet!
Maikel Franco badly wanted to hit a home run in last night’s 8-2 victory over the Braves.
The Phillies had already scored five runs on five extra-base hits in the inning against Braves right-hander Joel De La Cruz. Franco, who has been swinging a hot bat the past couple of weeks, wanted his big hit, too.
“On that first swing, yes,” Franco said with a laugh, acknowledging he wanted to go deep. “But on the second one, I just tried to see the ball and put good contact on it.”
Franco crushed the follow-up 92-mph sinker to left-center field for a two-run homer to give the Phillies a season-high seven runs in an inning. The ball travelled a projected 448 feet, according to Statcast™, which made it the Phillies’ longest homer of the season.
The previous high? Franco’s 438-foot shot on Sunday against the Royals.
“He let it eat for sure,” said Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, who watched Franco’s cuts from the on-deck circle. “He definitely was up there with a purpose. You could tell. And then he got the next one, and it went a long way.”
“So that’s what happens when you try to do too much,” Franco said, comparing his two swings. “You miss the baseball. See the ball, hit the ball, and something good will happen.”
Franco has been on a tear since June 19, when his batting average (.236) and OPS (.690) hit season lows. He entered the afternoon hitting .367 (18-for-49) with three doubles, one triple, four home runs, 14 RBIs and a 1.180 OPS in 13 games since.
That type of production is what the Phillies expected from Franco following an encouraging rookie season.
“Right now, I feel more confident,” Franco said. “I feel more comfortable at home plate. I see the ball much better, so that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
Added Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: “He’s coming around nicely.”