More Sports:

April 22, 2016

Franco busts out of slump, homers twice to fuel Phillies win

Maikel Franco was in a 3-for-30 funk with nine strikeouts entering Friday night at Miller Park.

This, from the guy leading the major leagues in home runs and RBI this spring (yes, spring training statistics don’t count). This, from the one guy the team is regularly counting on for offense in a lineup filled with former All-Stars or place holders for the prospects (or free agents) who will eventually have their jobs.

In the midst of his weeklong slump, Franco said it was simply about failing to practice proper plate discipline and swinging at too many bad pitches. It wasn’t about trying to carry the weight of being the guy in an otherwise underwhelming lineup.

“I’m not putting pressure on myself,” Franco said before a game this week at Citizens Bank Park. “I know I can do better, I know I can do well in the game. It’s just a part of the game. It’s a tough moment for me right now, for the team. But we’ll figure it out.”

Franco seemed to figure something out on Friday night at Miller Park.

After Freddy Galvis ripped a one-out triple to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning, Franco ripped a two-run home run deep into the Milwaukee night. In his next a-bat two innings later, he tried to hit Bernie the Brewer’s slide, apparently.

On Friday night, Franco equaled his home run out-put over the season’s first 2 1/2 weeks, homering twice to fuel the Phillies to a 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“It’s part of the game, you have to stay strong every night, stay positive,” Franco told Comcast SportsNet’s Gregg Murphy in a postgame interview Friday. “Have fun and enjoy the game. It was a big night tonight, I’m going continue to try to do that.”

Franco went 3-for-4 with three RBI. In one game, Franco equaled his hit output from the previous seven games combined.

“Sometimes I try to do too much,” he said. “Today, I did everything right.”


This time last year, through his first 17 games of the season, Freddy Galvis was hitting .328. But the Phillies sure-handed shortstop is never going to be known for his bat. As long as he’s contributing his usual sturdy work in the field, any positive offense is a bonus.

In the last week, when the Phillies have failed to score more than two runs regularly, Galvis has been the offensive’s spark plug. He was the author of Sunday’s game-winning hit, scored Wednesday’s walk-off run after a double, and then ignited the team on Friday with a go-ahead, run-scoring triple in the fifth inning before Franco’s first home run.

Galvis is 9-for-28 (.321) in his last seven games with five extra-base hits (one home run, one triple, three doubles). He went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple, a walk, and a run scored in the Phillies win on Friday.

Nola-onger waiting

It took more than two weeks, but Aaron Nola can finally smile following a start. Friday’s 5-2 victory marked the first time the Phillies won a game Nola started in 2016.

It was a change of pace for Nola, who saw the Phillies win six of his first eight major league starts after joining the big league team last July.

Nola allowed a first-inning run on Friday but was otherwise very sharp. After the first inning, Nola fired six shutout innings and allowed just three Brewers base runners, on a walk and two singles.

Nola struck out seven of the 27 batters he faced on Friday ... and is in pretty good shape among National League leaders.

Roll out the Barrel

The Phillies went 0-for the Brewers last season.

Friday's victory was the first for the Phillies over the Brewers since July 10, 2014, a day after Jonathan Papelbon basically said he’d like to be pitching for any team other than the Phillies. (He would get traded 383 days later).

And Lastly...

While the Phillies were getting their bats going in Milwaukee, the Flyers were fighting for their postseason lives in Washington. They once trailed 3-0 in their first-round series against the Capitals; now they're hosting Game 6 in South Philly on Sunday.

Did you know: the last time the Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit, the Phillies were at Miller Park, just as they are this weekend. And yes, the Flyers can't wrap up the series on Sunday, so the Phillies will already be in a new town if and when a Game 7 takes place.

And just where are the Phillies going next? Washington, of course. 

No matter what happens with the hockey team, kudos to Michal Neuvirth for suddenly making this a fun series.