Hernandez's 4-hit game ignites thriving Phils
Phillies dealt with many issues over past week, but tallied 16 hits in Game 2 Sunday
PHILADELPHIA -- In the past week, the Phillies have juggled with the delicate balance between surviving and thriving.
They survived a manager stepping down. They survived their ace, Cole Hamels, getting hit hard by the Yankees. They survived five innings without putting a runner on base against a pitcher coming off a no-hitter. But in other moments, some in their 8-5 victory over the Nats on Sunday, the Phillies thrived. Four times in the last seven games, the offense has posted eight or more runs, a feat it had achieved just once in the nearly three full months prior.
To interim manager Pete Mackanin, this week's offensive output showed that continued survival can eventually break through to success.
"I think these guys are trying to survive, and they're just trying to put to use what they talk about and what they work on in the batting cage," Mackanin said. "They're learning as they play, and unfortunately this is a tough level to learn at. But this is the only place to learn how you play Major League baseball. We've got work to do, but it's nice to see a lot of these guys doing what they could today."
The Phillies finished Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader with 15 singles and one extra-base hit, an Andres Blanco double in the second inning. Most of those singles were clustered in the second and fourth innings, where 12 hits brought in all eight of the team's runs.
Cesar Hernandez stood out with a 4-for-4 showing, in which he stole a base and scored a run. Counting his performance in the first game of the doubleheader, Hernandez was 6-for-8 Sunday, all six of his hits singles, with three stolen bases.
Mackanin said Hernandez, who has 13 hits in his last seven games and was one of two Phillies to start and complete both of Sunday's games, is streaking because of his increased exposure.
"One of our concerns in Spring Training was it would behoove him to play and we'd like to see him play a lot but as a part time player, I don't think at this stage of his career he's really ready to be a part-time player," Mackanin said. "But he certainly looks like he's got a chance to be an everyday player. He's learning and gaining confidence."
In those second and fourth innings, the Phillies twice strung together four singles in a row. In both situations, the first two men to single scored because of the singles that came after them. Maikel Franco and Domonic Brown were involved in both occasions, driving in the runs in the second inning and scoring the runs in the fourth.