Excellent form has been lacking for the Phillies during the first 16 games of the season. Chase Utley, who received a much needed day off this afternoon, doesn’t look right as he has had considerable trouble with outside pitches. Ryan Howard, who was also not in the lineup, has struggled mightily. The list goes on and on.

And then there is Cody Asche, who has been the best looking hitter in the Phillies lineup very early in the season. Asche, who was bumped up to the three-hole for the Phillies finale against the Marlins, is off to a torrid start.

Asche, who is hitting .340, has been making much more solid contact than he did last season.

“I may have to retract what I said during the spring,” a  NL scout said. “I said that Asche wasn’t going to do anything for the Phillies but he looks very strong at the plate. It’s early but he looks good.”

Asche’s form has been very good. When he drilled his second home run of the season during the Phillies Wednesday night loss to the Marlins, Asche’s balance was perfect. He loaded up and extended his front leg as his right foot landed softly.

“I’m feeling good,” Asche said. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m just trying to hit the ball solid.”

The Phillies can use some offensive production, particularly at home. The Phillies home batting average is an anemic . 211. Ryne Sandberg’s club is averaging only three runs a game and have hit a paltry five home runs in eight games. With burners Ben Revere and Odubel Herrera at the top of the order and the fleet Freddy Galvis in the lineup, it’s surprising that the Phillies have only four steals in eight home games.

“It’s early,” Revere said. “But expect us to get on track.”

Not much has gone as expected so far for the Phillies. The team expected Domonic Brown, who is rehabbing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley to be in the lineup and not to have a new hitter in the cleanup spot every game. Who last month would have guessed that Jeff Francoeur would be batting fourth in game 16 for the Phillies?

“It’s going to be interesting to see how things evolve for the Phillies as this season continues,” a NL scout said. “Who knows what will happen next?”