Mack­anin de­mand­ing shift in ap­proach at plate

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack Mc­Caf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Some­time dur­ing spring train­ing next sea­son, and ear­lier than later, Pete Mack­anin will in­sist upon what he long thought has been ob­vi­ous.

Some­time, and reg­u­larly, he is go­ing to or­der hit­ters to prac­tice hit­ting the other way against a junk de­fense.

“Doesn’t it seem odd that no­body can hit against the shift?” the Phillies’ man­ager said Wed­nes­day. “That seems odd. When I was play­ing, play­ers han­dled the bat more. Ev­ery­one had a twostrike ap­proach. Ev­ery­one was con­scious of strik­ing out. Now with the an­a­lyt­ics, strik­ing out is not a big thing.

“If you used to take a called third strike with a man in scor­ing po­si­tion, you got fined. Now, it’s not im­por­tant any­more. They have the same ap­proach any­more with a 3-1 count as when it is 0-2. Guys don’t show a good two-strike ap­proach. And the guys that do are good hit­ters.”

So, if the play­ers won’t hit to­ward an aban­doned side of the field on their own, Mack­anin will ef­fec­tively make it a job re­quire­ment.

“A (Dy­lan) Cozens, the left-handed hit­ters, part of their daily BP rou­tine will be a round of hit­ting against the shift. It’s un­be­liev­able when you see a big hole. I guar­an­tee that when I was play­ing, you wouldn’t be able to shift like that, ex­cept against Dave King­man or Wil­lie Stargell, guys like that.”

Mack­anin doesn’t know how long the shift will re­main pop­u­lar. But as long as it is, he’s de­ter­mined to mount a counter-at­tack.

“I could make a name for my­self,” he said. “Shifty Pete. It makes sense. You are down by four runs and you have Cozens hit­ting a line drive to left field. Let’s get on base.” • The Phillies chose to rest Vince Ve­lasquez late in the sea­son to pre­serve his arm. They will not do so with Jake Thomp­son.

“Right now,” Mack­anin said, “he is sched­uled to go un­til the end.”

In a 6-2 vic­tory over the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates Wed­nes­day, Thomp­son showed why he will be so trusted, al­low­ing two hits and strik­ing out three in six in­nings. It was his fourth con­sec­u­tive start with two or fewer earne­druns al­lowed.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing for me,” said Thomp­son, of the Phillies’ com­mit­ment. “I worked ex­tremely hard in the off­sea­son to be able to be in that sit­u­a­tion to fin­ish an ex­tra month, a month longer than the mi­nor-league sea­son. That was my goal. And hope­fully I am able to fin­ish out strong.”

He’ll have that op­por­tu­nity.

“Thomp­son pitched pretty well,” Mack­anin said. “He did a good job, giv­ing us six good in­nings. The first in­ning he got out of the jam with a dou­ble play. That was huge. It set the tone.”

• With his sec­ond-in­ning home run, Freddy Galvis had home­red in three of his last four games. Sur­pris­ing? “I don’t get sur­prised about any­thing,” said the short­stop, who has 19 home runs. “But I think with 500 or 550 at-bats, if you take 20 good swings and you hit the ball good, es­pe­cially in this park, then you can get homers. I mean, I feel good with that. I think I have to do bet­ter with my on-base per­cent­age. I’d like to get my av­er­age up. But I think I am help­ing the team a lit­tle bit.”

• The Phillies’ 2017 sched­ule was re­leased Wed­nes­day. As they did this sea­son, the Phils will open in Cincin­nati, April 3. Their home opener will be Fri­day, April 7, against Wash­ing­ton at 3:05.

Amer­i­can League teams Seat­tle, Bos­ton, Hous­ton and Oak­land will visit Cit­i­zens Bank Park.

NOTES >> The Phillies’ 15 hits Wed­nes­day were their most in their last 39 games … Tommy Joseph hit his 19th home run. Not in­clud­ing pinch-hit and DH home runs, the Phils have 37 from Joseph and Ryan Howard, the ma­jor-league high for first base­men … Jerad Eick­hoff (10-13, 3.73 ERA) will op­pose right-han­der Chad Kuhl (3-3, 4.09) when the four-game se­ries with the Pi­rates ends Thurs­day night at 7:05 … The Mar­lins will be in for the week­end. Adam Mor­gan (2-10, 5.73) and righthander Tom Koehler (9-11, 3.97) will pitch Fri­day. Satur­day night, it will be Jeremy Hel­lick­son (11-9, 3.76) and right-han­der Jose Urena (46, 4.89). Alec Asher (1-0, 1.46) and right-han­der An­drew Cash­ner (5-11, 5.22) will pitch Sun­day af­ter­noon at 1:35 … Tyler Goed­del’s sec­ond-in­ning sin­gle ended an 0-for21 slump. He was 2-for-4 … At­ten­dance was 16,112.

MATT SLOCUM — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Maikel Franco takes a swing dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s game against the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates.

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