Here's something about which the traditional scouts and the new-school statistical analysts can agree: The Phillies have had one of the least productive offenses in the National League this season.
But manager Gabe Kapler isn't about to blame his hitting coaches.
"Oh my gosh, those two are an incredible tandem," Kapler said Wednesday in an endorsement of hitting coach John Mallee and assistant Pedro Guerrero. "They have done a tremendous job. I understand why a correlation with recent struggles would bring up questions about all sorts of things. But in this particular case, I think you're talking about one of the better hitting coaches in John Mallee and a guy who has supported him in Pedro Guerrero that is off-the-charts good."
Mallee joined Kapler's staff after three seasons as the Chicago Cubs' hitting coach. He's a proponent of the launch angle craze in hitting, and he's known for his work with young hitters in both Chicago and previously with the Houston Astros.
But the Phillies entered Wednesday night ranked near the bottom of the 15-team NL in most offensive categories, including on-base percentage (10th, .316), slugging percentage (11th, .397), batting average (12th, .238), runs (11th, 613), doubles (14th, 218) and strikeouts (14th, 1,350).
If anything, though, the Phillies want to stress their major-league hitting approach throughout the organization. Farm director Joe Jordan stepped down last week over differences in opinion over player-development philosophy, and according to an NBC Sports Philadelphia report on Wednesday, the front office has informed minor-league hitting coordinators Andy Tracy and Frank Cacciatore, triple-A hitting coach Sal Rende and high-A hitting coach John Mizerock that they won't return next season.
Maikel Franco watched the replay only once.
"One time was enough," the Phillies third baseman said. "It was scary."
Franco flipped over a railing in front of the visiting dugout while pursuing a foul ball in the eighth inning Tuesday night. He landed in a camera well on his right shoulder and the back of his neck, prompting immediate attention from trainers on both teams, but left the field on his own.
X-rays were negative and Franco didn't require a concussion test. His shoulder was bruised and sore, but overall, he avoided serious injury. The Phillies characterized Franco's condition as a jammed shoulder and a stiff neck. Kapler said Franco could return to the lineup Friday.
"We can joke about it today," Kapler said. "When I saw him sprawled out on the floor, he looked like his arms were spread out, his eyes weren't open. Is he alive? And there was quite a bit of panic from the umpire. But then once I saw him get up and start moving around, we were comfortable that it wasn't anything serious."
Shortstop J.P. Crawford started his first major-league game since June 18 when he got hit by a pitch and suffered a broken left hand.
Kapler cited the quality of Crawford's two pinch-hit at-bats, one of which resulted in a double, in Tuesday's doubleheader as a reason to get his lefthanded bat in the lineup against Nationals righthander Stephen Strasburg. But the Phillies also might take a longer look at Crawford over the season's final 2 ½ weeks.
"A lot of that has to do with how the next 10 days go and whether he is the best option to help us win baseball games," Kapler said. "We're always balancing both his development with the opportunity to win tonight's baseball game."