With eight games left in the Phillies' season, Pete Mackanin is still playing to win.
After dropping the series opener in Atlanta, 7-2, Mackanin makes several changes to his lineup. His first change is at the top of the order, as Cesar Hernandez sits and Odubel Herrera moves up to the leadoff spot.
The decision to rest Hernandez appears based on his poor career numbers against Atlanta's starter, Julio Teheran. Hernandez is 3-28 against Teheran, while Herrera is 5-23. Teheran is 1-2 this season against the Phillies. He won his previous start against them on Aug. 30, allowing just one run and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
Herrera has no hits and six strikeouts in his last 12 at-bats. He's also been chasing a lot of pitches outside of the strike zone, and has only one walk since Sept. 9. At .281, his batting average is the lowest it has been since Aug. 6.
J.P. Crawford, who has looked smooth at third base, shifts to second base to accommodate the change. Maikel Franco slots back in at third .
Mackanin's final change is swapping catcher Jorge Alfaro for Cameron Rupp. With the Phillies getting an extended look at Alfaro, Rupp's playing time has recently decreased. This is his first start since Sept. 17 against Oakland.
In his second start for the Phillies, Henderson Alvarez won't have to do much to better Ben Lively's outing Friday night. Lively conceded six hits and five runs before recording an out. Alvarez's start on Sunday, when he allowed four runs in five innings, was his first major league game in the past 28 months. An All-Star in 2014, Alvarez's career was derailed by injuries.
Below is Saturday's lineup:
1. Odubel Herrera, CF 2. Freddy Galvis, SS 3. Nick Williams, RF 4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B 5. Aaron Altherr, LF 6. Maikel Franco, 3B 7. J.P. Crawford, 2B 8. Cameron Rupp, C 9. Henderson Alvarez, P
And the Braves' lineup:
1. Ender Inciarte, CF 2. Ozzie Albies, 2B 3. Nick Markakis, RF 4. Tyler Flowers, C 5. Matt Adams, 1B 6. Dansby Swanson, SS 7. Rio Ruiz, 3B 8. Jace Peterson, LF 9. Julio Teheran, P