Just when you thought Maikel Franco’s run of regular playing time with the Phillies might have finally come to an end, it appears he’s going to get one more extended chance to prove himself with the news that J.P. Crawford fractured his left hand during tonight’s 7-6 loss to the Cardinals. He was injured in the fourth inning on this 93 mph fastball from Cardinals starter Luke Weaver:
Crawford is out 4-6 weeks after fracturing his left hand tonight. Here’s the pitch he did it on. pic.twitter.com/AxE3xfINPt
— BWanksCB (@BWCrossingBroad) June 20, 2018
Crawford is hitting only .194 this season with a .645 OPS, but he had recently given the bottom of the Phillies lineup some quality at-bats that have quietly helped a struggling offense perform better over the past week. He entered the night seeing 4.35 pitches per plate appearance, which is well above league average, and a big reason why the Phillies are seeing as a team the second most pitches per plate appearance behind only the Dodgers.
As for Franco, I mean, I don’t know. What else is there to say? There are brief flashes of brilliance, but there’s not much of a reason to believe that he’s suddenly going to realize the potential that not so long ago made him the organization’s top offensive prospect. The reality is that he’s a below league average third baseman, and if by the grace of God the Phillies somehow remain in contention a month from now despite the incompetence of this bullpen, they may look for a short-term upgrade at third base for the remainder of this season ahead of their rumored planned pursuit of Manny Machado this winter.
While the injury wouldn’t seem to have a seismic impact, it will most certainly exacerbate the team’s embarrassing lack of capable depth. Are you ready for the return of Mitch Walding? Because I’m not. The Phillies will have to make a corresponding roster move ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s series finale with St. Louis.