Le Toux and Giroux Enjoy Mitchell & Ness Party DJ'd by Questlove

Le Toux and Giroux Enjoy Mitchell & Ness Party DJ'd by Questlove

Unfortunately, the Phillies' season is over, and instead of gearing up for Game 4 of the NLCS on Thursday night, Philly fans were now left searching for alternative forms of entertainment. Aside from the fact that none of us would voluntarily have the Phillies getting their golf games in order right now, there's something to be said for enjoying a night away from the stadium or the TV. Particularly if that night is spent in one of Philly's finest retail establishments, listening to one of the city's most celebrated musicians play some music.

That was the scene last night at the Mitchell & Ness party at their 12th and Chestnut flagship store where Questlove was DJing for a packed house.

And, apparently, an off-night with no responsibilities is a very welcomed occurrence for athletes too. A night after the Flyers won their home opener on Wednesday, a decent contingent of the orange and black came out for the party. Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds, Max Talbot, and Scott Hartnell were all spotted enjoying Questlove's tunes on their night off. As Matt P. pointed out, the most acceptable Player Wearing Another Team's Gear sighting was JVR rocking an old school Hartford Whalers hat.

The Philadelphia Union were also well represented, with Sebastien Le Toux, Michael and Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp, and Danny Califf among the event's attendees.

There was a good mix of media and other Philly personalities, and the athletes were seemingly able to just hang out and not be bothered by too many requests for photos and the like. We certainly didn't want to bug them, although Matt ran into Califf for a moment while the two were waiting in line. Matt's impression was that Califf was incredibly nice, a sharp change from how he appears when contesting crosses into the box. Mild-mannered and enthusiastic about the opportunity to play soccer in Philly, Califf agreed that fans are pumped for the team's successes so far this year, but by no means content just yet. He seemed genuinely excited and appreciative to be playing in front of a demanding fanbase.

Overall though, despite sports being a general unifying theme of the popular Philly brand's party, it wasn't the focus of the night by any means. Sean McKinney, President of Mitchell & Ness, told us that might not have been the case had the Phillies been playing. The M&N team had plans for flat screens to be everywhere if the Phils were in the NLCS, which certainly would have been a great party as well.

But, with no Phillies to celebrate, this was still a fun night with some interesting people and great music.

Questlove photo by The700Level.com, Danny Califf photo by Mitchell & Ness

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Having seen his team's offense produce just six hits and one run in the previous two games, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin benched Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders on Tuesday night.

The benchings could last more than one game.

"I'm not going to tip my hand because I don't know what my hand is yet," Mackanin said. "I feel like I have to do something to get some offense in the lineup and there comes a point in time where I'm trying different things.

"At this level you've got to produce. You want to play, you've got to hit and they have to understand that. Nobody is here on scholarship."

Franco and Saunders opened the season hitting fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Phillies' batting order.

Entering play Tuesday, Franco was hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage.

Saunders was hitting .227 with a .273 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage.

Franco was leading the team with 28 RBIs and tied for second with six homers, but his inconsistency and inability to harness his free-swinging approach was wearing on Mackanin. Franco swung wildly at breaking balls on Monday night and struck out twice. The 24-year-old third baseman has worked hard on developing a more disciplined approach with hitting coach Matt Stairs, but has been unable to consistently incorporate those adjustments into his game.

Mackanin said he was surprised by Franco's consistent struggles. He hoped the benching would take some pressure off the player.

"Befuddled is a good word," Mackanin said. "As much as he works in the cage and on the field in batting practice and does it right, when he gets in the game his head is still flying and his bat is coming out of the zone.

"You've heard me say this many times: Hitting is like riding a bike. I can't teach you to keep your head in there. I can tell you to do it, but you have to do it on your own and he's got to figure it out. Guys have to figure it out. They have to figure out how to get the job done. Whether it's cut down on your swing, choke up, use a different bat, use a different stance, do something different. If you make outs the same way over and over, it's not going to change."

Andres Blanco started at third base in place of Franco and Ty Kelly was in the lineup in left field with Aaron Altherr moving into Saunders' spot in right.

Quite notable was that on the same day that Franco and Saunders went to the bench, Howie Kendrick ramped up his rehab from an abdominal strain. He took batting practice outdoors for the first time since the April 15 injury. He could be ready for a minor-league rehab assignment later this week and be ready to play in the majors next week. Kendrick can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots, so he could push Franco and Saunders for work if he hits and they continue to struggle.

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

The Phillies are a lifeless team right now.

For a while the starting pitching was the biggest issue, then it was the bullpen, now it's the offense. The Phils have hit .224 since May 12, which was when their 2-7 road trip began. 

Their .268 on-base percentage over that span is worst in the majors and their .613 OPS is better than only the Mariners.

Players up and down the lineup are slumping. Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP since the ninth game of the season. Michael Saunders hasn't given them much at any point. Maikel Franco had an eight-game hit streak snapped Monday, but even still is hitting .221 with a .281 on-base percentage. 

At this point, why not bring up Roman Quinn and play him every day? It makes too much sense right now.

Daniel Nava went on the 10-day DL Monday with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury, but why not use the open space as an excuse to bring Quinn up for at least a few days and see what he's got?

Quinn could infuse some energy and life to the top of a sputtering lineup. Bat him second, play him in the corner outfield and see what happens. At the very least, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Saunders. At the most, Quinn's hunger to stick in the majors could result in a hot streak that sparks the top of the order the way Herrera does when he's hot.

Quinn is hitting lately at Triple A, batting .333 with a .424 OBP over his last 15 games. He showed last September that he can be an offensive catalyst with his ability to beat out infield singles, bunt for hits and spray the ball. Yes, he strikes out too much for a leadoff-type hitter, but it's just hard to see the downside of a call-up right now.

The argument against bringing Quinn up now is that it's too early to sour on Saunders, a player the Phillies signed in hopes of trading at some point. But think about how much Saunders would have to do to have worthwhile trade value. Yeah, you could flip him somewhere for a negligible return or some salary relief, but he'd have to be extremely productive for at least a month to get a team interested in trading a minor-leaguer of any value for him.

Pete Mackanin has tried many things to spark the Phils' lineup, moving Herrera and Franco down, sitting guys, challenging guys. The best solution, perhaps the only solution right now, might be a move made over his head to promote the Phils' speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who has a future with them so long as he stays on the field, which he has this season.

As for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who have also hit very well at Triple A, they just happen to play the same positions as Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, who have been the Phillies' most reliable bats the last few weeks.