“Yeah, it’s realistic,” he said.
Utley has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a strained right oblique. He said he already feels he can take a few swings with the bat, but will wait a little longer to avoid any chance of a setback. A strained oblique can be finicky.
“I am definitely feeling better,” he said. “I’m hoping to take some swings in the next three or four days, and at that point I’ll probably know where I’m at.”
Utley expects he will need some sort of rehab assignment, but it might be locally.
“We haven’t talked about it, but I don’t think Clearwater is in the plans,” he said.
But a rehab game in Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley might be.
“Possibly, yeah,” he said.
John Mayberry Jr. hit a game-tying home run in the 10th inning and a game-winning grand slam in the 11th inning in a 7-3 victory over the Marlins. Mayberry is the first player to hit two extra-inning home runs in one game since Baltimore’s Mike Young in 1987. He is the first player in baseball history to hit two extra-inning home runs in one game with the second home run a walk-off grand slam.
“It feels pretty good, I can’t lie to you,” Mayberry said. “That’s definitely a first. This is one of those days I’ll remember forever.”
Mayberry’s heroics are even more impressive, considering he started the game on the bench. He pinch-hit in the seventh inning and remained in the game as a defensive replacement for Delmon Young in right field. He became the fourth player in Phillies history to hit two home runs in a game as a substitute. He joined Ryan Howard (May 14, 2006, at Cincinnati), Steve Jeltz (June 8, 1989, vs. Pittsburgh) and Jack Knight (June 24, 1926, vs. New York Giants).
He also is the first Phillies player to hit a walk-off grand slam in extra innings since Dale Murphy on Aug. 6, 1991, against the Cubs.
The victory puts the Phillies (29-30) in position to be .500 for the first time since April 14 with a victory Wednesday. Can they finally get there? They only need to beat the Marlins, who are on pace to lose 115 games.
“We’re going to be trying like hell,” Charlie Manuel said.
Read the entire game story here, including thoughts from Manuel and Ben Revere on Bob Davidson‘s horrendous interference call in the eighth inning.
MLB just announced the top five players at every position, including the top 15 outfielders.
Brown is not among the top 15. I guess that isn’t a surprise. While Brown is hitting .329 with six doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS since April 23, he only truly has gotten everybody’s attention in the last 10 games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with one double, one triple, nine home runs, 17 RBIs and a 1.712 OPS in that stretch. Combine that late surge with lower attendance at Citizens Bank Park and Phillies fans not exactly excited about their team — thus they are not stuffing the ballot box like they have in the past — and Brown seems destined to the make the team as a reserve.
Chase Utley is the only Phillies player to be listed among the leaders, but he is a distant third among second basemen.
He got a big scare last Tuesday at Fenway Park, where he received a serious phone call about 30 minutes before his game against the Red Sox regarding a health issue concerning his nine-month-old son Antonio. Young went on the bereavement list Wednesday to return home to Texas before returning to Philadelphia to be activated before tonight’s series opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
“That’s what I’ve been doing, tending to my little boy,” said Young, who declined to discuss specifics regarding his son’s health issue. “A hospital bed is no place for a nine-month-old baby boy. They’re home now. Better. Awaiting some results from some tests, but he’s home now and isn’t stuck to an IV, which is a good thing to see from a father’s standpoint. He’s home with my family and he’s comfortable.”
The Phillies optioned light-hitting infielder Michael Martinez to make room for Young on the roster. They instead kept Cesar Hernandez, who replaced Young on the roster last week. The Phillies trumpeted Martinez’s defensive versatility when he replaced Chase Utley on the roster May 24, but while Hernandez is primarily a second baseman, he simply is a better baseball player than Martinez. Hernandez entered Monday hitting .263 (5-for-19) with one double in five games. Martinez has a career .509 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 358 plate appearances over parts of three seasons with the Phillies.
But the good news is Young’s son is feeling better.
“I’m OK,” Young said. “We got a lot of potentially bad things ruled out, which is great news. The fact that some really horrible things were ruled out was great news for my family. I’m just happy my son’s home.”
Young is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow. He said he is ready to play.
“I could always count on baseball to be kind of my sanctuary, another place where I can be me and cut it loose and go out and compete at the highest level, which is who I am and what I do and what I love to do the most,” he said. “If anything, I can count on baseball for that.”
They believed he could help their offense, so they figured why not sign him for just $750,000?
But Young is hitting .215 (20-for-93) with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs in 28 games. He has just a .387 slugging percentage and a .279 on-base percentage. He has played OK defensively, although he dropped a catchable ball in right field in the fifth inning today, which led to a two-out run in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers.
“I think sooner or later we definitely are going to have to evaluate him and decide,” Charlie Manuel said. “When you’re playing like that and trying to get going (as a team), there is a time when you have to sit down and definitely evaluate not only his performance and other guys’ too. I think that’s when we’ll decide, actually how much he gets to play or what. I think he’s going to hit. There again, it’s kind of like, when? I don’t like to give up on a guy that’s got the track record like he has with the bat. What I saw in Miami showed me that if he would get going and steady, that he could be a big addition to our lineup.”
Young appeared to be heating up late last month when he hit .333 (5-for-15) with one double, two home runs and four RBIs in four games. But since then he has hit .182 (6-for-33) with one home run and three RBIs in nine games.
“It’s only (93) at bats,” Young said. “That usually Aprils month of baseball. But when you’re losing you’re trying to do a little of everything to help the team score runs.”
I think the Phillies will give him more time. How much more? I’m not sure. Could be a couple weeks, could be a month, could be until the Phillies decide to blow up the 25-man roster and start from scratch. If that happens, the Phillies could move Domonic Brown to right field and call up Darin Ruf to play left. But at the moment, even though the Phillies are four games under .500 and show no signs , they still plan on giving this a shot. So they’ll continue to send Young out there, hoping he gets hot.
He moved Brown into the third spot today against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, but not because Brown’s play dictated it. Manuel said Brown, who leads the National League with 15 home runs, hit third because Jimmy Rollins could not play after fouling consecutive pitches off his right foot last night.
“His foot is sore,” Manuel said. “And if you look, gosh darn, somebody has to hit third, somebody has to hit fourth, somebody has to hit fifth. I figured because Domonic is smoking ‘em, I was going to stick him third. That’s why he’s hitting third. But I’m not saying where Domonic will hit (in the future) because he is going to tell me.”
Brown hit .303 (33-for-109) with four doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and a .991 OPS in May, although he interestingly did not walk once. He has homered seven times in the past seven games, and four in the past two.
“He’s hitting third today because it’s the best middle of the lineup we could have with Domonic, Howie (Ryan Howard) and Delmon Young hitting three, four, five,” Manuel said.
Manuel said Rollins’ foot is not fractured, but is “real sore.” He said it is day-to-day, and there is a chance he could play tomorrow.
More than three hours before Red Sox left-hander Franklin Morales threw his first pitch to the Phillies tonight, Charlie Manuel took a seat in the Phillies dugout at Citizens Bank Park and told reporters Morales is a pitcher his players definitely should be able to hit.
“We can go up there and look for fastballs,” he said before the 9-2 loss as the Phillies failed to reach .500 for the third time in the past week. “I feel that way. Just because he throws a curveball or a changeup over (for a strike), that doesn’t mean that we’ve got to panic and start swinging at them. He will give you some fastballs.”
Morales threw his share of fastballs, but after Delmon Young hit a two-run home run in the first inning they managed just four hits the rest of the night. The Phillies have been held to two or fewer runs in 21 of 54 games (38.9 percent) this season.
“It’s kind of the same thing every day,” Manuel said afterward.
It certainly is. I’ve been getting tweets from fans expressing their frustrations with Chad Durbin and Jeremy Horst, but the Phillies lost tonight because the offense is bad. They lost Monday night to Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves, who entered the night with an 8.20 ERA. They lost tonight because they could not hit Morales.
“We talk about the same thing every night,” Manuel said. “That’s where that .245 (team) batting average comes into play. This is a game of percentages, averages, that’s what happens. We didn’t muster enough offense. … I’m sure they look at our lineup and look at it as we’re not at full strength. I’m sure they do. I’m not aking anything away from the pitcher, but they threw him instead of (Jon) Lester. They wanted Lester against against the Yankees.
“It’s a battle for us. To win games, it’s a battle. Even when we have Cliff Lee or (Cole) Hamels or whoever, (Kyle) Kendrick, throwing a real close game, it’s still a battle for us to win at times. We haven’t blown too many people out. We don’t knock the cover off the ball. That’s what I’m talking about, too. In order for us to run off a winning streak or do better, we’ve got to score more runs of course. We were in the game tonight until they got four ahead of us. They kept adding. We couldn’t get enough base runners and we couldn’t get big hits.”
The Phillies had the bases loaded with one out when Erik Kratz bounced into an inning-ending double play.
“The game is sitting there for us and we couldn’t do nothing to take it,” Manuel said.
The Phillies keep talking about getting on a lengthy winning streak, but the longer this continues the more difficult it is to expect it will happen.
Domonic Brown has been on fire lately.
Let’s take a look:
- He has homered in three consecutive games, including two home runs last night against the Red Sox.
- He has five homers in his last four games.
- He is the first Phillies player to hit 10 or more homers in a month since Ryan Howard hit 11 in Aug. 2009.
- He is tied for fifth in baseball with 13 home runs.
- He is 23rd out of 170 qualifying hitters in baseball with a .519 slugging percentage.
- He is tied for 28th with 32 RBIs. He might have more, but he lacks opportunities. He has had 121 runners on base during his plate appearances, according to Baseball Prospectus. That ranks 85th in baseball. His Others Batted In percentage (the runners on base he has knocked in) is 15.7 percent, which is 65th out of 188 players with 150 or more plate appearances. That ranks third on the team behind Chase Utley (18.9 percent) and Howard (15.8 percent).
- Brown was hitting .206 with one double, two home runs, six RBIs and a .623 OPS in 20 games through April 23. He has hit .290 with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 26 RBIs and a .915 OPS in 32 games since. He is tied for third in baseball in homers since April 23. He is tied for seventh in RBIs. His .621 slugging percentage is 10th.
- The only statistic that gives you pause during this run is the fact Brown has not walked since April 30. If he does not walk in the next two games he would become the first hitter in baseball history to hit nine or more home runs in a single month without a walk. Ernie Banks (Aug. 1968), Tony Armas (Aug. 1988) and Miguel Olivo (June 2009) each hit eight home runs in a month without a walk. Brown’s on-base percentage is just .298, despite the hot streak. But the Phillies will take it. They need somebody to hit with power consistently.
It seems every baseball writer that predicted Brown would hit for power this season is letting everybody know (strangely, nobody ever mentions the wildly awful predictions) so I might as well chime in. I wrote this March 29: Domonic Brown … has looked incredible this spring. I wrote earlier how Brown’ spring training numbers could indicate a successful 2013. John Dewan said players that show a 200-point increase in their spring training slugging percentage from their career slugging percentage have performed significantly above their career marks in the upcoming season 60 percent of the time. Brown finished the spring with a .675 slugging percentage compared to a .388 career slugging percentage. That is a .287 difference, which puts him in that group. Like I wrote in my story, eight of the 12 Phillies previously on Dewan’s list ended up surpassing their career slugging percentages during the regular season. Of the four players that fell short, two were not everyday players (Eric Bruntlett in 2009 and Pete Orr in ’11) and one got injured midway through the season (Jim Thome in ’05). Maybe Brown will make Dewan 9 for 13. If the over/under on Brown’s slugging percentage is .428 (average slugging percentage for outfielders last season), I’m taking the over.
From Elias Sports Bureau: Brown hit two home runs, while Ryan Howard and Erik Kratz each homered once in the Phillies’ 4-3 victory over Boston. It was the second time in franchise history the Phillies scored four or more runs in a one-run victory in which all of its scoring came on solo home runs. The first came Sept. 1, 1964, when the Phils opened what would become the most disappointing month in team history with a 4-3 home victory over the Houston Colt 45s. Dick Allen, Johnny Callison, Wes Covington and Frank Thomas provided the scoring in that game.
Enjoy your day.
They were optimistic he would need just two.
But Utley still feels soreness in the oblique, so they said today he is going to need more time.
“It’s just an injury that’s tricky, so we have to be real careful with it,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He still feels tenderness in there, so we’ve got to be careful not to let it get to the point where it becomes even more of an injury. We’ll just slow play him until he’s ready.”
Asked if Utley had a setback, Amaro said, “No, not to my knowledge he hasn’t had a setback. He’s just still tender.”
Utley has not played since May 20, which makes him eligible to be activated June 5. But that won’t happen.
He has hit .284 with six doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 23 RBIs and a .848 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 30 games from April 24 through Monday’s 8-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He earned National League Player of the Week honors after hitting .348 (8-for-23) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and seven RBIs in six games in the past week.
Interestingly, he has not hit higher than fifth this season, hitting sixth 42 times.
Could that be changing?
“He’ll let me know when it’s time for him to move,” Charlie Manuel said before tonight’s game. “He’s headed that way. Really, I mean that. I’ve developed a lot of players through the Minor Leagues and big leagues. I’ve had some of the best players who have ever been in baseball. They’ll usually let you know where they’re going to hit. (Chase) Utley and (Ryan) Howard did that. When people talk, ‘Why is he hitting down there?’ He’ll hit his way there eventually.”
Howard won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2005. He hit sixth almost the entire season behind Jimmy Rollins, Kenny Lofton, Chase Utley, Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell. He hit mostly fifth the first few months in 2006, permanently moving to fourth only when the Phillies traded Abreu on July 30. Howard won NL MVP honors that season.
Utley hit mostly fifth and sixth the first few months of 2005 before Manuel put him into the third spot for the first time July 14. He remained there almost exclusively the rest of the season.
Brown might not move up in the lineup this week, but if he keeps hitting like this it is an eventuality.
“In my head, I always feel like I’m up to the task of being in the top of the order,” Brown said. “That’s Charlie’s decision and whenever he thinks I’m ready for it, I’ll move up. Right now I’m fine where I’m at. As long as guys are getting in scoring position and I’m doing my little part on the team, we got Howard, Utley and those guys to drive in runs, so once I get a little time then I just try to do the same.
“You’ve got to earn it with Charlie. I grew up the same way. I totally understand where he’s coming from whereas a lot of guys might not. Nothing’s going to be handed to you. You’ve got go out and work hard. If you’re putting up the numbers, then you’re going to hit in the top of the lineup. If you don’t, then he’s going to put you down there in the seventh and eighth hole. Charlie’s one of those managers that’s going to let you know exactly what’s going on. It’s no surprises.”
But Brown is encouraged with his progress. He credits a shorter, quicker swing for much of his success.
“Being around guys with short swings,” he said. “You can definitely see the difference with guys like Jimmy, Utley, those guys. With that being said, I can get on the plate like those guys. Me being 6-5, longer arms, I’ve got to be short to the baseball. Just going out, watching a lot of film and being around coaches, it’s a little bit of everything.”