ATLANTA - Maikel Franco batted four times in Friday night's loss to Atlanta. He saw four pitches. He made four outs.
But, after the game, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin could find no fault. He has preached discipline to his young lineup, a group that swings at a higher percentage of pitches than any other in the National League, according to FanGraphs.
The Braves threw Franco four first-pitch fastballs. Three of them were probably strikes, and the other was a borderline pitch.
"I don't have a problem with that," Mackanin said. "The first pitch he hit, he was upset because it was a good pitch to hit. In fact, every pitch he swung at was a good pitch to hit. He missed them. So I have no problem with an aggressive, middle-of-the-lineup guy going up there hacking.
"If they were balls in the dirt or over his head, that's another thing. He hit the line drive to center field. He hit another one to the warning track in right field. I have no issue with that."
Even with the four first-pitch outs, Franco has batted .400 (20 for 50) on the first pitch this season. He has hit four homers and two doubles on the first pitch. His 1.095 OPS on the first pitch ranked 12th among hitters with 50 at-bats that ended on the first pitch.
Cody Asche started for the ninth time in 10 games. He entered Saturday just 6 for his last 59, with five of those hits singles. . . . Jerad Eickhoff will start in Sunday's series finale. Atlanta has not yet announced a starter. It could be Ryan Weber, Joel De La Cruz, or Casey Kelly. The Braves played Friday and Saturday with an obscene 10-man bullpen, so they are likely to rely on the relievers in Sunday's game.