Question for the day is whether or not it makes sense for the Phillies to play Ben Francisco in left field against left-handed pitching instead of Raul Ibanez regularly in 2011.
I think the answer for the day is no. But not because Ibanez is a better hitter against lefties. He’s not. In big part, it’s cause there’s only one of Francisco.
Here’s what Francisco has done against lefties for his career:
It makes sense that Francisco would be the better hitter against lefties. And he is. Ibanez has hit for a slightly higher average over his career, but just about everything else favors Francisco. Against lefties, Francisco has struck out less (16.4% of plate appearances compared to 19.8% of plate appearances for Ibanez) and walked more (10.5% for Francisco and 6.9% for Ibanez). Francisco has also been more likely to deliver an extra-base hit — 9.6% of plate appearances for Francisco and 8.5% for Ibanez.
Francisco has just been a better hitter against lefties over his career than Ibanez has.
The problem is that Francisco can only play one of the corner outfield positions at a time and Domonic Brown has 14 rather unimpressive career plate appearances against lefties. The question for Brown in 2011, at least to start the year, isn’t whether he’s good enough to play right field every day. It’s whether or not he’s good enough to play right field against righties. Regardless of the answer to that question, until Brown demonstrates that he’s ready, Francisco needs to be in the lineup against left-handed pitching and I think it’s likely he will be.
Given how things have gone for Brown early this spring training, Francisco might be seeing a whole lot of time in right no matter who is pitching.
The Phils beat the Blue Jays 6-3 yesterday. Halladay, JC Ramirez and Michael Stutes combined to strike out eight in six shutout innings. Juan Perez allowed a run in his inning and Scott Mathieson two in his. Matt Anderson threw a scoreless eighth (this article says he hit 96-mph on the radar guy while doing it). Brown was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, he’s 0-for-9 in official spring action. Francisco 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI — he’s 4-for-7 with three extra-base hits.
On Sunday, Blanton went three shutout innings, but the Phils lost to the Yankees 7-3. Justin De Fratus and Michael Schwimmer both were charged with runs and Brad Lidge gave up a solo homer in the ninth. Francisco was 2-for-4 with a home run and all three of the Phillie RBI.
Saturday they beat the Yanks 5-4. Hamels allowed an unearned run over two innings and Worley threw two scoreless frames. Pete Orr and Josh Barfield handled second for the Phils and combined to go 3-for-5 with an RBI. Francisco was 1-for-1 with a walk and a triple.
Cliff Lee pitches today as the 2-1 Phils face the Tigers.
This says that Bastardo will make his spring debut on Friday.
Chase Utley has tendinitis in his right knee and will play, well, some time.