In a normal season, or if it was Memorial Day rather than Labor Day, maybe the Phillies would have put Adam Haseley in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher.
But manager Joe Girardi decided that the 37th game of a 60-game season wasn’t the time to start giving Haseley that chance.
Although Haseley is the only healthy center fielder on the Phillies’ roster, Bryce Harper started in center for the first time since 2018 with the Washington Nationals, in Monday’s series finale against New York Mets lefty starter David Peterson. Newly recalled Kyle Garlick started in right field and misplayed a ball in the fifth inning, allowing a run to score.
“It was just something that we did,” Girardi said. “I talked to [Haseley] today. I said, ‘Look, I’m going to flip it fairly quickly if we get a lead, and I’m going to put you in center.’ So he understands that. There’s going to be plenty of playing time for him.”
Indeed, Haseley entered in center field in the sixth inning of the Phillies’ 10-inning, 9-8 victory, replacing Garlick in the No. 9 spot in the order.
Haseley, a left-handed hitter and the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, played every day in the minor leagues and actually had better numbers against lefties (.942 OPS in 57 at-bats) than righties (.783 OPS in 108 at-bats) in a small sample size last season at double-A Reading.
But after getting called up last year, the Phillies limited his exposure to left-handed pitching. Only 57 of his 242 plate appearances last year came against lefties, and he batted .212 (11-for-52) with three walks.
This year, three of Haseley’s 35 plate appearances have come against lefties, and he has gotten less playing time overall than fellow outfielder Roman Quinn. But with Quinn (concussion) going on the injured list Sunday, it appeared Haseley would finally get a chance to play against lefties.
After Monday, though, it might not necessarily be the case, even though Harper doesn’t particularly like playing center field.
“Throughout my career, I’ve played against lefties and righties,” Haseley said Sunday. “And I know in the minors they’re trying to develop you, but I’ve felt confident at the plate whether it’s left or right. I’ve always had good preparation and felt like I could compete against a lefty or righty.”
Utilityman Scott Kingery, another potential center-field option, is sidelined with back spasms. He took batting practice over the weekend at the Phillies’ alternate training site in Lehigh Valley and is eligible to be reinstated from the injured list on Thursday.
Alec Bohm was 1-for-15 in the series against the Mets when he stepped to the plate with two out in the eighth inning on Monday and delivered a game-tying single to right field.
Just another impressive at-bat for the rookie third baseman.
“It’s really impressive,” Girardi said. “Some of our coaches and some of the players talked to him about this is the life of a big-league player. You’re going to run into a lot of really good pitchers all the time,” Girardi said. “He comes up with a huge hit today. His defense has been really good. And that’s not easy to do.”