With Maikel Franco in an extended slump, manager Pete Mackanin moved his struggling slugger down in the lineup.
Franco is batting sixth, the lowest he's been in the order this season, as the Phillies begin a three-game road series against the Nationals on Friday night (7:05/CSN and CSNPhilly.com). Franco has started 30 games in the cleanup spot and one game as the No. 3 hitter. The move was made after Franco posted a meager .195/.283/.293 line over the last two weeks with a .202/.277/.333 mark in his last 21 games. He's 0 for his last 15 and is 6 for 32 with four walks and nine strikeouts in May.
In his place, a surging Tommy Joseph moved in the cleanup spot and Michael Saunders is batting fifth. After a forgettable April, Joseph is batting .393/.500/.857 with three home runs and four doubles in nine games this month. Joseph has primarily batted sixth this season with a few starts higher in the lineup and two starts batting seventh.
While there are changes lower in the lineup, Aaron Altherr's continued roll keeps him third in the lineup. Altherr has four home runs in his last three games and has at least one HR and three RBI in each of those contests. He has the fourth highest OPS in baseball among players with at least 85 plate appearances. In 142 fewer plate appearances, he alread has five more extra-base hits than he did last season. He's also cut down on his strikeout rate and upped his walks, showing better plate discipline across the board.
Altherr leads a lineup that will face Tanner Roark on Friday night. Roark has started seven games against the Phillies in the last two seasons and has a quality start each time out (see game notes).
Here's the full Phillies lineup that will face Roark on Friday.
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Nick Pivetta, P