For Phillies, batting J.P. Crawford ninth again would be a good sign

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For Phillies, batting J.P. Crawford ninth again would be a good sign
For Phillies, batting J.P. Crawford ninth again would be a good sign

Gabe Kapler batted his pitcher eighth this season in 12 of his first 24 games as a major-league manager. The thinking, which he outlined throughout spring training, was simple: The ninth place in the lineup should not be an automatic out, but a spot reserved for a batter who reaches base at a high rate in front of the top of the order. The Phillies, Kapler said last week, had “a couple of specific athletes” who they thought could hand the ninth spot. And J.P. Crawford, who batted ninth 11 times in April, was one of them. But Crawford started the season with a .188 average and a .246 on-base percentage. He was more of an automatic out than an on-base machine before he missed all of May because

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