Northeast Times

Mayberry might make a difference

John May­berry Jr. should be the Phil­lies’ start­ing right­field­er.

If for no oth­er reas­on than to shake this lineup up a bit to see if this of­fense can get go­ing, May­berry should be giv­en the chance to play every day. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the right­field spot was in ques­tion. Ben Fran­cisco, who won the job out of spring train­ing, had turned heads in the first few weeks, mak­ing it a bit easi­er for people to get over the de­par­ture of Jayson Werth.

I also wrote about how the ex­ten­ded slump of left­field­er Raul Ibanez was more of a con­cern.

What a dif­fer­ence a few weeks can make — Ibanez has been a force since May star­ted and Fran­cisco has been es­sen­tially nonex­ist­ent.

While May­berry might not be the cure for what ails this Phil­lies of­fense, he has shown dur­ing his lim­ited play­ing time that he can handle his busi­ness. 

Start­ing on Open­ing Day with a walk-off single, and up to his two-run blast that tied Sunday’s game against the At­lanta Braves, May­berry has proved he can handle ma­jor-league pitch­ing.

Over his 44 at-bats so far this sea­son, just 13 shy of his ca­reer sea­son high, he already has ac­cu­mu­lated 13 hits, sev­en RBIs and nine walks. 

He also has shown a pen­chant for power — three of those 13 hits have been doubles and two oth­ers were knocked out of the park.

As we all know, power has been lack­ing from this lineup of late.

Fran­cisco’s num­bers ba­sic­ally re­flect what this of­fense has done so far, es­pe­cially if you sub­tract Ry­an Howard’s num­bers from the equa­tion.

In 126 at bats this sea­son — al­most three times as many as May­berry — Fran­cisco has just 28 hits, 18 RBIs and 17 walks. 

He has the same num­ber of doubles as May­berry, but only two more home runs. 

In his last 10 games, Fran­cisco has just two hits in 25 at-bats; he also struck out six times. 

Don’t get me wrong here; May­berry very well could not be the fix for this broken lineup. He could soon bot­tom out of­fens­ively the day he starts full time. But the worst that could hap­pen is the lineup stays the same. 

It is, after all, al­most get­ting to the point of ag­grav­a­tion, con­sid­er­ing how well the pitch­ing has been and how little sup­port is be­ing sup­plied by the of­fense.

A lot of people would like to see Do­mon­ic Brown, the team’s top pro­spect, take over the right­field job. Brown, who was in con­ten­tion for the start­ing job, has been re­hab­bing an in­jury since the end of spring train­ing and just re­cently star­ted play­ing in minor-league games. He went 12-for-34 with two doubles, two home runs and sev­en RBIs in just nine games be­fore in­jur­ing his thumb.

He could be back to his minor-league as­sign­ment by the week­end if his re­cov­ery goes well, but the pos­sib­il­ity ex­ists that he could be out longer.

In Fran­cisco’s de­fense, he is not the only one un­der­per­form­ing this year. However, un­for­tu­nately for him, he’s the one in the spot­light as the suc­cessor to Werth, who de­veloped in­to a pretty sol­id play­er be­fore our eyes. 

Fran­cisco still may turn out to be the guy who takes over Werth’s work­load full-time, but what he’s shown through the first quarter of the sea­son is just not ac­cept­able. •• 

Colum­nist Matt God­frey can be reached at mgod­frey@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at mgodfrey@bsmphilly.com.

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