Placido Polanco’s two-run double in last night’s eighth gave the Phillies a 6-4 lead and, hopefully, demonstrated some personal progress at the plate.
Since hitting the DL in July last year, Polanco has just seven extra-base hits in 238 plate appearances. That means a slugging percentage of .311 over the same span. Wilson Valdez slugged .341 last season, so ... needless to say, Polanco hasn’t been in the habit of driving the baseball since the back problems flared up just over 10 months ago. The go-ahead double last night, which came off a 95-mph fastball that Polanco was able to turn on and pull past the left fielder, was encouraging and his recent performance is a welcome change. He is 7-for-16 (.438) over his last four games with a pair of doubles.
If he can reestablish himself as a .290-.300 hitter with at least a threat of gap power, it would do worlds to solidify the top of Phils’ lineup. Polanco’s potential resurgence would give Charlie Manuel a reason to quit messing around with Shane Victorino in the two-hole, which would benefit everyone. Victorino is arguably the worst situational hitter on the team, he is hitting .143 this season when batting second, and personally, I really like him in the five spot. Some production out of Polanco would also take a little pressure off Jimmy Rollins at the top of the order.
Coming up: Tonight – Hamels (3-1, 2.73) vs. Beachy (2-1, 1.05); Wednesday – Halladay (3-2, 1.95) vs. Hanson (3-2, 3.00); Thursday – Blanton (2-3, 3.81) vs. Delgado(2-2, 6.30)