In what could be interpreted as a metaphor for the Phillies’ season, pinch-hitter Taylor Featherston hit a foul ball that landed directly in the Phillies’ dugout garbage can at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Aaron Altherr, waiting nearby, raised his arms in celebration of the achievement.
Featherston pinch-hit for reliever Elvis Araujo and ended up striking out. Freddy Galvis had given the Phillies a 3-1 lead in the at-bat just ahead of Featherston, slugging a three-run home run to left field off of reliever Grant Dayton. The Phillies would go on to win 6-2, salvaging the final game of their West coast road trip.
Odubel Herrera was not included in the Phillies’ starting lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Dodgers. It’s the fourth time this month that manager Pete Mackanin has benched Herrera. As CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported last week, Mackanin is frustrated with Herrera’s declining plate discipline.
Aaron Altherr got the start in center field on Wednesday and that may be a theme before the end of the season. “I like Altherr in center field,” Mackanin said in Salisbury’s latest column. Mackanin continued, “[There’s] a good chance he’ll be the center fielder and we’ll move Odubel (to a corner outfield spot), but we’re not doing anything right now. The thought crossed my mind to make that switch this year — maybe in September, just to get Odubel familiarized with a corner.”
Herrera was selected by the Phillies from the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft two winters ago. He had played almost exclusively at second base but the Phillies moved him to center field in a move that paid big dividends. During the first half this year, Herrera hit .294/.378/.427 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI, 49 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 378 plate appearances and was the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game last month.
As the Phillies have a glut of outfield depth with Altherr, prospects Nick Williams and Roman Quinn, as well as Tyler Goeddel, Dylan Cozens, and others, Salisbury suggests the Phillies could try to trade Herrera this winter. It wouldn’t be unlike the Phillies, who traded a young cost-controlled reliever in Ken Giles to the Astros last winter. Of course, center fielders with a skill set like Herrera’s — contact, speed, plate discipline, average-or-better defense — are hard to come by, so the Phillies might prefer to hold onto the 24-year-old and hope he can continue to evolve.
With Aaron Nola on the disabled list, the Phillies will call up pitching prospect Jake Thompson to make his major league debut on Saturday against the Padres, CSN Philly reports.
Thompson, 22, was acquired from the Rangers along with five other players in the Cole Hamels trade last summer. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the Phillies’ fifth-best prospect. According to the scout reports, Thompson possesses four pitches that figure to be average or better in the big leagues: a fastball that can hit the mid-90’s, as well as a slider, a curve, and a change-up.
In 129 2/3 innings with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Thompson has put up a 2.50 ERA with an 87/37 K/BB ratio in 129 2/3 innings. He has been particularly dominant since the beginning of June, posting a 1.21 ERA and a 42/18 K/BB ratio in 74 1/3 innings across his last 11 starts.