In a rare start in yesterday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds, Freddy Galvis went 2-for-4 including a walk-off solo home run to right field off of flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. The performance boosted his weighted on-base average to .387, the best mark on the team (min. five plate appearances).
The Phillies have tried to find a way to use him, but haven’t been able to justify giving anyone in the infield more than the odd day off. Galvis has started more games in left field (four) than at any other position except third base (also four).
Ryan Howard did not start yesterday due to soreness in his left knee. He did not travel with the team to Miami for the start of a nine-game road trip as he will have an MRI today and await further prognosis. Howard has been struggling offensively all year as he has a .296 wOBA, more than 80 points below his career average. As the lefty has battled lower-half injuries since the end of the 2011 post-season, it would make sense for the Phillies to play it very safe with Howard and put him on the 15-day disabled list.
Such a move would bolster the team in two ways: by removing Howard’s unproductive bat and glove until he’s healthier and adding Galvis, whose bat and glove are significantly more valuable by comparison. Galvis would go to third base and Michael Young would move across the diamond to first base, where he played yesterday and where he had logged 655 defensive innings previously in his career with the Texas Rangers.
The Phillies have struggled offensively and Howard has a lot to do with that since he has had the most plate appearances with runners on base (82), but only the fifth-best percentage of other players driven in (15.8 percent). This isn’t to say that Howard can’t be productive going forward, but that the Phillies should use his ailing knee as motivation to get a more productive player in the lineup while Howard heals up and works out his performance issues outside of game time.