Friday, November 27, 2015

Francisco replaces Ibanez in lineup

Ben Francisco gets the start Wednesday night in place of Raul Ibanez in the Phillies' starting lineup.

Francisco replaces Ibanez in lineup

Ben Francisco was hit by a pitch in his only at bat this postseason. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)
Ben Francisco was hit by a pitch in his only at bat this postseason. (Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer)

Looking for better results against Giants lefty starter Madison Bumgarner, Charlie Manuel replaced Raul Ibanez with Ben Francisco in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the NLCS.

A Phillies win tonight would even the series at two games apiece. A loss would leave them one loss from elimination.

Francisco has just one plate appearance this postseason -- he was hit on the helmet with a pitch against the Reds in Game 2 of the NLDS -- and since Aug. 26 has started just four games. So in close to two months, Francisco has 30 plate appearances.

All four of his starts came in the final week of the regular season after the Phillies had clinched the NL East crown and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

More coverage
Phillies Zone: Francisco in LF as Ibanez sits
Bob Ford: Blanton now must save Phils
The Phillies Zone: What to expect from Blanton
Phil Sheridan: Phils won't go further without their bats
More Phillies coverage from the Inquirer & Daily News
Head to Head: NLCS Game 4, 7:57 p.m.

During that stretch, he went 7-for-17 with two home runs, a double, six RBI and four runs.

"I wanted to put another righthander in the lineup," Manuel said. "And also I talked to Raul and I feel like Raul is trying too hard and overswinging, chasing bad balls, the swing's getting long."

Asked what challenges Francisco faces having not played in so long, Manuel said, "I think the biggest thing about it, it would be his timing, and also getting comfortable at the plate. He has a knack for -- he can stay on the ball and he has a knack for hitting. He's a good fastball hitter and he works the count pretty good. And usually he'll pick good pitches to swing at. And like if he has any kind of timing, I feel he has a chance on the guy today."

Francisco struggled last postseason, going 0-for-11 with a walk and two strikeouts in 11 games, two of them starts.

The 28-year-old Francisco hit .268 with a .768 OPS, six home runs, 28 RBI and 24 runs in 197 plate appearances during the regular season.

He hit .284 with a .901 OPS against lefties compared with .253 and a .640 OPS against righties. All six of his home runs came against lefties.

Ibanez started the postseason 3-for-8 with a walk in the first two games of the NLDS. Since then, he is 0-for-15 with one walk and six strikeouts.

Despite Bruce Bochy saying he was planning to switch back to his usual lineup, Aaron Rowand will remain centerfield tonight instead of returning Andres Torres to the leadoff spot. Juan Uribe will not play, with Pedro Sandoval at third and Edgar Renteria at shortstop.

Today's Phillies lineup:

1. Shane Victorino CF

2. Chase Utley 2B

3. Placido Polanco 3B

4. Ryan Howard 1B

5. Jayson Werth RF

6. Jimmy Rollins SS

7. Ben Francisco LF

8. Carlos Ruiz C

9. Joe Blanton P

Today's Giants lineup:

1. Edgar Renteria, SS

2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

3. Aubrey Huff, 1B

4. Buster Posey, C

5. Pat Burrell, LF

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

8. Aaron Rowand, CF

9. Madison Bumgarner, P

Daily News Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
High Cheese is your place for the best Phillies coverage from the Daily News.

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
Ryan Lawrence Daily News Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter