Commentary

As Bourjos heats up, Mackanin’s decisions get easier

bourjosA friend once asked me: “Do you think Peter Bourjos is a poor man’s Hunter Pence?”

“Look at the guy, he runs like him, wears his socks the same and the hustle is always there.”

My friend never took into account the hitting display we would see from the once part-time player, who is quickly earning himself a spot in the everyday lineup.

Hot of late, the 29-year-old has posted a .423/.455/.615 slash line in 22 June games.

On the Phils’ semi-west coast road trip to Minnesota, San Francisco and Arizona, Bourjos has hit an astounding .519 (14 for 27) with some sneaky power.

It started in Minnesota where he went 3-for-4 with six total bases, a deep home run and three RBIs. Even television broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Ben Davis were surprised to see the 6-foot-1, 185lb outfielder park one in such a pitcher-friendly park like Target Field.

Phillies Manager Pete Mackanin is still searching for a lineup that he can depend on. The outfield has been tricky so far besides Odebul Herrera who is a making a case to take part in this year’s All-Star game in San Diego. If Bourjos continues to hit with this consistency, the skipper may be able to mark down another key to the combination.

“I’m going to try to get as close to a set lineup as I can instead of the back and forth,” Mackanin said to MLB.com prior to game one in Minnesota. “I’ve been in that position where you play a day, you don’t — it’s tough. I’m going to try to zero in on who I want to play. It might be [Tyler] Goeddel, it might be [Cody] Asche, it might be [Peter] Bourjos, [and] it might be whoever else we have. I don’t want to keep switching all the time. I’d like to keep somebody in there at least five days a week. I’m not there yet.”

Bourjos stayed dialed in on Monday night against Arizona going 3-for-5 with two runs scored while showing off that sneaky power with a ground-rule double to the left-center field gap. The Phillies ended up blowing out the Diamondbacks 8-0.

It would not be surprising if the outfielder finds himself creeping up to the top of the lineup card to set the table along with Herrera, considering his .552 OBP on the current road trip.

Bourjos may run into some trouble down the road with some of the blue chip prospects the Phillies have in the pipelines (read Tim Malcolm’s column on that here: http://www.philliesnation.com/2016/06/nick-williams-and-the-crowded-outfield/).

Until that time we will gladly take this “poor man’s Hunter Pence”.

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