PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In two games against the Angels early last week, Phillies third baseman Cody Asche was 0-6 at the plate and that’s not even the worst of it. In Mike Trout’s return to Philadelphia on Tuesday night with over 41,000 fans on hand, Asche committed three errors in the game, two of those coming in a crucial four-run inning for the Angels, who won both games.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg stuck with Asche and kept him in the lineup the next night, as well as for all three games over the weekend. In those three weekend games against the Reds, Asche was 7-12 with two doubles, a home run, and six RBI’s. Sandberg called Asche the hero the last couple of days.
“He’s been the hero the last couple of days and hopefully that will continue to snowball,” Sandberg said of Asche on the WIP Morning Show on Monday. “Sometimes that’s what a player needs, is just a second chance, a boost of confidence.”
Sandberg explained the thought process behind sticking with the 23-year-old third baseman, who admitted that Sandberg’s confidence in him helped his performance.
“The young kid had a rough game out there, those things happen,” Sandberg said of Asche’s three-error Tuesday night. “And so for me, the next best thing was to put him right back out there. He’s a gritty kid, he’s a grinder, and I think he’s starting to find his way now. That was the biggest thing, was getting him right back out there and since it really feels like he’s turned a corner. On the offensive side and defensive side he has come a long way since that game [Tuesday night], which was only about four or five days ago.”
WIP Morning Show host Angelo Cataldi asked Sandberg what he thinks Asche’s ceiling is.
“I see him as a quality left-handed hitter using the whole field,” Sandberg answered. “There’s an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals [Alex] Gordon who plays left field, a very similar type of a looking player make-up wise, plays hard. I see him as that type of a player. I see him potentially hitting 20, 25 home runs especially at our park and hitting for average, .275 or better.”
Sandberg switched the lineup around for the Phillies’ series against the Reds beginning on Friday. With Ben Revere struggling and battling a stomach illness, Jimmy Rollins batted lead-off, his first start in the lead-off hole since August 22nd, 2013. Rollins had three walks in three games batting a top the order over the weekend, and now is tied for the 19th most in baseball with 22.
“Well those are the things I look at on a daily or weekly basis, but I like Jimmy right now up there,” Sandberg said of the lead-off spot. “I just like the way that he looks, he’s real patient. He is hitting the ball, hitting for average. He’s doing a nice job offensively, he’s drawing some walks, but right now that seems to be a real good fit for us.”