Not normal, but not bad for Franco, Phils

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent @21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Reluc­tan­tSE on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA » Maikel Franco ad­mit­ted it was a “weird” night at Ci­ti­zens Bank Park Fri­day, and no, that’s not be­cause he hit a home run.

Franco, his play­ing time of late limited with the ex­per­i­ment of rookie J.P. Craw­ford play­ing at third base, found his power stroke, which helped the Phillies to a 6-2 win over the New York Mets.

Franco’s homer, his 22nd of an overall dis­ap­point­ing season, came in the sec­ond in­ning and gave the pre­vi­ously trail­ing Phillies a 2-1 lead.

They wouldn’t trail again.

The Phillies scored twice in the third, keyed by an Odubel Her­rera sac­ri­fice fly and a weird balk by Mets pitcher Matt Har­vey when he dropped the ball in mid-de­liv­ery, free­ing Nick Wil­liams to trot home with a fourth run. Homers by catcher Jorge Al­faro and Ce­sar Her­nan­dez wrapped up the scor­ing for the Phillies and gave Ben Lively (4-7) a win to pin some spring train­ing hopes on.

But as for the weird­ness it had less to do with Franco and Har­vey balks and more to do with man­ager Pete Mack­anin, who was an­nounced be­fore the game as over­see­ing his last se­ries as the Phillies’ bench boss.

Mack­anin will serve as a “spe­cial as­sis­tant” next season to gen­eral man­ager Matt Klen­tak.

“It’s re­ally weird. Sun­day, it’ll be dif­fi­cult,” Franco said about the man­age­rial sit­u­a­tion. “But you know, he give ev­ery­thing out there that he have. He’s a good per­son, a good man­ager and I just want to say good luck in ev­ery­thing he can do.”

Mack­anin re­turned the com­pli­ment about Franco, who two years ago looked like a suc­ces­sor to Ryan Howard as a run-pro­duc­ing power hit­ter, but strug­gled might­ily this season to find his swing, his fu­ture with the club now in ques­tion. Franco is hit­ting just .230 with the 22 homers and 72 RBIs.

“We still have a lot of con­fi­dence in him,” Mack­anin said. “He needs to make an ad­just­ment, and when he does, I think he’s going to be good. I think he’s going to be­come a bet­ter hit­ter; that’s all he’s got to do, is be­come a lit­tle bet­ter dis­ci­plined. Not swing as hard.”

The Phillies had sev­eral good swings at Har­vey, who is a shell of his old self due to in­juries. He dropped to 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA.

Once again, the Phillies bullpen did well in re­lief of Lively, with Hec­tor Neris earn­ing his 26th save.

And as for Mack­anin ... he said he did what he could to keep the game as normal as pos­si­ble.

“Once the game starts, I’m man­ag­ing,” he said.

••• Prior to the game, vet­eran catcher Cameron Rupp wasn’t spec­u­lat­ing on a re­place­ment next season for Mack­anin, but he agreed that it’s pos­si­ble for the club to go from a player’s man­ager now to some­one with more of an edge next time.

“You don’t know their thought process,” Rupp said. “If (Klen­tak) says he wants a dif­fer­ent guy, that could be, younger. Or maybe a lit­tle more new school rather than old­school baseball that Pete came from and (Larry) Bowa and all those guys that have been around a while. That could be a whole dif­fer­ent va­ri­ety of op­tions.”

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