Cody Asche’s Stock Rises; Freddy Galvis Stays Mired in a Slump

It took a 4-for-4 performance against the Toronto Blue Jays last night, but Cody Asche is back on the map. Asche singled twice, doubled, and hit this game-tying grand slam in the sixth inning off of Jays starter Drew Hutchison:

Asche had seen his playing time cut recently in favor of Freddy Galvis and Jayson Nix, and even with his impressive game against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, manager Ryne Sandberg is still likely to start Nix or Galvis against the left-handed Mark Buehrle in Toronto.

Make no mistake, however: Asche is back on the map. His 4-for-4 effort brought his average up to .257 from .214 and he now has the ninth-highest OPS among all Major League third basemen, minimum 70 plate appearances.

Asche started off the season slowly, carrying a .567 OPS in 52 PA over 18 games. Since April 24, however, Asche has a 1.117 OPS. This is the part where I’d normally throw in a couple heat maps to show you some possible explanations for his newfound success, but unfortunately the database for those is no bueno for the time being, so we’ll have to go back to the Stone Ages and rely on things like OPS. Ugh.

Galvis is on the other side of the coin. Playing at shortstop in place of Jimmy Rollins, who was dealing with a sore groin, Galvis went 0-for-2 and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning. Why? With one out and Marlon Byrd on second base in the second inning, Galvis grounded into a fielder’s choice. Byrd tried to get caught in a lengthy run-down between second and third base, but was not quick enough to do so. Foolishly, Galvis had strayed too far off the first base bag and was in no man’s land when the tag was applied to Byrd, and he too was caught in a run-down for the third and final out of the inning. In his second at-bat, Galvis weakly grounded a 0-1 change-up to second base to lead off the fifth inning.

With runners on first and second base and two outs, down by four runs, Sandberg opted to pinch-hit Mayberry for Galvis and it turned out to be the correct call. Mayberry drew a walk to load the bases, bringing up Asche, and you know what happened. Nix took over for Galvis at shortstop and struck out in his only at-bat.

Galvis has two paltry hits, both singles, in 41 plate appearances. His slash line is now a disappointing .053/.098/.053. Outfielder Darin Ruf has played in a handful of games in extended spring training and could be ready to start a rehab assignment at some point in the near future. Ruf has been sidelined with an oblique injury suffered during spring training, but may be able to return before the end of the month.

If the Phillies are growing impatient with Galvis and don’t want to wait for Ruf, they could call up Cesar Hernandez from Double-A. Hernandez has been learning third base and the team might be reticent to interrupt his progress, but he has been hitting well as his .914 OPS illustrates. Phillies pinch-hitters have posted an OPS 60 points below the league average. Galvis could go down to Triple-A in an attempt to turn things around, and Hernandez could take over as the utility infielder.

The good news for the Phillies is that their third base situation — Asche — has seen improvement to counterbalance the struggles Galvis has been experiencing. They would have been stuck between a rock and a hard place if Asche continued struggling while Galvis was popping up weakly in every other at-bat. But for now, the Galvis problem is manageable and the Phillies have a couple of reasonable options at their disposal.

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19 comments

  1. Tom

    May 07, 2014 10:29 AM

    Good to see asche doing better…Looked like that play at third late in the game was helped by a little confidence possibly gained at the plate. As far as freddy…yuck.

  2. Francisco (FC)

    May 07, 2014 12:44 PM

    Now, if only they could do something about that flaming circus act that is called the Bullpen.

  3. Eyetest

    May 07, 2014 01:51 PM

    Hamels is a bum. He’s always been a bum. He may be the most talented pitcher on the phillies, but he clearly doesn’t get his body ready in the offseason.

    • Tom

      May 07, 2014 04:19 PM

      I’ll admit…I trade him in my mind every time he has a start like the last 2 but always come to my senses pretty quick. It’s our right to over react and trade someone after a bad game, or sign them for life after a good one…but come on man…a bum? Really? Hamels isn’t a guy with Verlander “stuff” that can go out, not have all his pitches and still dominate. He didn’t have a spring, and is getting into form at the MLB level. Would you rather see a Tyler Cloyd start while he gets up to speed in the minors? What exercise could he have done to prevent this specific injury?

      • Eyetest

        May 07, 2014 09:40 PM

        We do this same dance every single season. Why does Cole not have a spring? It’s because he slacks off in the winter. Like he admitted after being awesome in the World Series. Or he’s fragile. Only one of those might be his fault (I am not a trainer), but that’s what we get with Hamels. I’m not saying we should trade him for pennies on the dollar, but when he eventually rounds into form, we should eat his salary and trade him for assets.

        Cole isn’t someone you build (or rebuild) around. Zero accountability. He’s injured or it was poor fielding, or the weather, or no run support, or his wife is pregnant or something. He was a great to have on an extremely strong team. I know everyone around here loves the advanced stats (as well we should) but the players still have to get up and play the game. Cole is a great talent who is bad for the team.

      • hk

        May 08, 2014 07:12 AM

        Cole Hamels has averaged over 200 IP for his career, more if you add in the post-season. In that time, he’s produced an ERA of 3.41 and struck out almost a batter per inning. These are not advanced statistics.

  4. Leslie Worsinger

    May 07, 2014 10:32 PM

    Why is Nix on this team, Is there not someone in the minors who can stand in the rigjthanded batter box and hit .171. He makes Mini Mart. look attrative.

    • mark66

      May 08, 2014 12:29 PM

      Leslie–you hit the nail on the head

  5. Koolken

    May 08, 2014 06:24 AM

    Tell me this how can anyone hitting .053 be a starter in the majors? There should not even be a space on the bench for .053. There’s just too many teams in baseball spreading the talent pool so thin this is what you end up with. Who wants to pay today’s prices for a ticket and watch these type players,you gotta be crazy.i grew up in late 50′s thru early 70′s and believe me .053 would have never been thought of being a major league player. Expansion killed the talent pool.

    • mark66

      May 08, 2014 12:28 PM

      Galvis has played himself out of a roster spot

  6. George Callanan

    May 08, 2014 06:54 AM

    The Hamels issue is for real. When you sign a pitcher to $144 million contract you need to get a very good ROI. I believe he wants to deliver but the issue appears to be one where that kind of pressure on him makes him under perform. If he can not find a way to forget the pressure because of what they are paying him and just relax and have fun the end result will be a disaster. It will cost Amaro his job. If we try to trade him I do not know who wants to pick up his contract. His value is still there. But if he ends up 3-13 with a 6.75 ERA we will get nothing. This could turn out to be a bust and it could change and he reverts back to the guy who helped us win a World Championship. The end result of what happens is between his ears. What does Cole want to be remembered as a champ or a bum?

    • Chris S.

      May 08, 2014 12:04 PM

      The Cole Hamels sucks and we shouldn’t have given him the money sect of the Phillies fan base needs to calm down. He has 3 starts under his belt this year and he is still on of the best pitchers in the game. Cole Hamel’s true talent is not that of a 3-13 6.75 ERA guy. Even Adam Eaton would have trouble sucking that bad.

      • Chris S.

        May 08, 2014 12:11 PM

        Oh and Cole Hamel’s BABIP is .415 which is sky high. That will surely regress closer to Cole’s career average of .285.

      • mark66

        May 08, 2014 12:27 PM

        Hey Chris–you are flat out wrong. With the amount of $$$ being paid to Hamels he doesn’t get the luxury of not producing. Just continue to wait and hope he gets out of his slump. That’s why the salary structures that exist today can really hurt teams more than having a system that’s fair to both player and team.

    • mark66

      May 08, 2014 12:08 PM

      Great take, I agree 1000%

    • hk

      May 08, 2014 03:26 PM

      “I believe he wants to deliver but the issue appears to be one where that kind of pressure on him makes him under perform.”

      Pressure makes him under perform? Do you realize that you made this comment about a guy who has a career post-season record of 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 and who was World Series MVP in 2008?

      • George Callanan

        May 08, 2014 09:29 PM

        The numbers being thrown. Around on Hamels were six years ago. He was surrounded with talent and he was making chump change. If it’s easy to live up to the pressure then how come since he signed the contract over a year ago he only has seven wins. I will tell you why he is choking. We are taking a win ratio of one out of every 5 starts. If you translate the number of wins to dollars prorated over 7 months , the Phillies are paying over 3 million dollars per win. Pathetic.

  7. mark66

    May 08, 2014 12:06 PM

    I have lived and died with the Phils for almost 60 years. I played the game myself until almost 30 yrs old. I understand the game. I have said all along to give Asche a chance to either win the job or lose it. Stop this platoon system at 3B. It has not and will not work with the personnel the Phils have. Galvis is proving more and more that he doesn’t belong. Ruiz needs to bat more in the 2 hole. JR is proving more and more he can’t be productive enough in the 2 spot. Nix is not helping enough. Mayberry and Brown are also showing they don’t belong. Hamels should give his monthly salary back for not producing anywhere near what he is being paid. And Howard continues to show he is probably the most overpaid player in the game today. I love the Phils but the front office have made so many mistakes the first change needs to come at the GM level with other front office jobs to go.

    • George Callanan

      May 08, 2014 10:30 PM

      I agree with Mark 66 . Arbuckle should have been the GM. He is working for KC because he was pissed for not being promoted to the GM . Instead they went with Amaro. They truly let the master scout or their best talent scout in their system get away. Many of the players on the championship team was because of his eye. Amaro is not the talent scout Arbuckle was. Every single year we have done worse under Amaro .All that is left is taking last place. We are in the hunt for last. So sad what has transpired in a little over 5 years.. The Phillies went from the penthouse to the outhouse.

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