Results tagged ‘ Domonic Brown ’

An Offensive Pulse

Chase Utley, Kurt SuzukiCole Hamels might be getting his mojo back, which could mean good things for the Phillies going forward. They need good pitching.

A few numbers to consider this fine Wednesday morning:

  • The Phillies have won six of their last eight games.
  • Since Atlanta started the season 12-1, it is 40-37, while the Phillies are 39-38 and the Nationals are 38-38. The Braves are practically begging somebody to challenge them in the NL East the second half of the season.
  • Since the end of May, the Phillies rank seventh in baseball averaging 4.58 runs per game. Since a loss in San Diego on June 24, they are seventh in baseball averaging 5.29 runs per game.
  • Ben Revere is hitting .346 since the end of April, which is seventh-best in baseball. He also is hitting .369 with an .871 OPS this season against lefties.
  • Following a 0-for-22 slump at the end of May, Michael Young has hit .331 with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, 15 RBIs and an .844 OPS in his last 33 games.
  • Chase Utley‘s .504 slugging percentage is his best mark since a .508 slugging percentage in 2009.
  • Delmon Young has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games. He is hitting .431 with three doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs and a 1.022 OPS in that stretch.
  • Domonic Brown cooled a bit in June, hitting .135 with two RBIs in a 10-game stretch. But in 18 games since June 19 he has hit .319 with five doubles, two triples, four homers, 15 RBIs and a .978 OPS. He is hitting .305 with an .816 OPS against lefties, and .343 with a 1.007 OPS in eight games in the cleanup spot.
  • Jimmy Rollins is not hitting for any power this season, but he has a .326 batting average and .340 on-base percentage in his last 10 games.

Looking at those numbers you could say the offense is coming alive, which is desperately needed because the pitching staff is 24th in baseball with a 4.33 ERA since June 8. The bullpen is even worse. It has a 5.21 ERA in that stretch, which is 27th. That is why Hamels’ last two starts are encouraging. If he can return to form he can put up a few zeroes, keep the young relievers in the pen and give the Phillies a better chance to win.

If these past few weeks are a sign of something real and not fool’s good then you have to think the Phillies will look to shore up its bullpen in the coming weeks. Of course, at what cost? As encouraging as the offense has been lately, I can’t imagine it would make much sense to part with a legitimate prospect to plug a hole in the bullpen … unless it is a guy the Phillies can keep beyond this season. (Joba Chamberlain? That makes ZERO sense. I mean, none.)

Brown Is Hot, But Not on Ballot

Domonic BrownDomonic Brown is one of the hottest hitters on the planet, but he is nowhere to be found among the leaders in votes for the National League All-Star team.

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.

Rollins Hurting, Brown Moves Up

Jimmy RollinsCharlie Manuel has said Domonic Brown’s play will tell him when he is ready to move up in the Phillies lineup.

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.

Brown’s Crazy Good Numbers

Domonic BrownHey, did you hear?

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.

Will Brown Move Up in Lineup?

Ryan Howard Domonic BrownDomonic Brown has been the best hitter in the Phillies lineup for more than a month and it is not close.

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.”

Brown, Howard Heating Up

Ryan Howard Domonic BrownThere has been plenty of focus in the past 24 hours on the Phillies’ pitching staff (and pitching coach), but I maintain the biggest reason for this team’s losing is its struggling offense. They are averaging 3.7 runs per game, which is 11th in the National League and 23rd in baseball.

But a couple key bats have started to show a pulse, which could get the offense moving. Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard have homered in consecutive games. Brown is hitting .382 (13-for-34) with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs in his last nine games. Howard has four homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine. He also is hitting .348 (16-for-46) with five doubles, four home runs, 13 RBIs and a 1.090 OPS in his last 13. It goes without saying the offense stands a much better chance if these guys start producing on a consistent basis.

(Ah, for the days when fans complained the Phillies relied too much on home runs. They sure seem to like them now.)

The offense needs to continue to build this weekend against the Marlins. Yes, the Marlins are terrible, but the Phillies need some positive vibes before they fly to San Francisco on Sunday evening to open a seven-game road trip in San Francisco and Arizona. The Giants are 17-12, and tied for first in the National League West. The Diamondbacks are 15-14. Things won’t be easy out there. If the Phillies move to .500 with a sweep of the Marlins or split the remaining two games to head West 15-17, it would be another bad sign if they limped back from the trip 2-5 or worse. At some point this team, if it’s as good as it thinks it is, needs to go on a run. And that won’t happen if they aren’t hitting.

Brown Feels Pop In Back, Leaves Game

Domonic BrownDomonic Brown will have his back examined tomorrow after he felt a pop diving for a ball tonight at Great American Ball Park.

He does not believe it is serious.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Brown, who dove for a ball in the first inning in an 11-2 loss to the Reds. “We’re going to get an MRI and see exactly what’s going on. I don’t think it’s anything major at all.”

But Brown added, “I felt some pain immediately. Once I took a couple of swings, I really felt it.”

He left the game in the fourth inning.

Down Doc, Up Brown

Domonic BrownThe Phillies returned home last night, and most things in camp went well except for Roy Halladay. I don’t include Darin Ruf here because I think people in the organization hoped Ruf would fare well in the outfield, although they did not necessarily expect it. And starting him in Triple-A isn’t the worst thing in the world, nor is it a crushing blow to the team’s chances. But Halladay’s importance is obvious, and the fact he had so many issues and struggles leaves one enormous question mark on the mound.

I said a couple weeks ago I thought the Phillies would jump at the opportunity if somebody told them Halladay would finish 14-10 with a 3.80 ERA in 30-32 starts this season.

I believe that even more today.

I’ve never seen a premiere pitcher struggle like this in the spring. I mean, I’ve certainly seen great pitchers struggle in spring training before, but it never looked like this. He labored, he struggled to command his pitches, he lacked velocity, he didn’t have a feel for his cutter, which has been a money pitch for him. But if you’re an optimist, then you believe each of Halladay’s explanations for his struggles following his last five starts. He mentioned “dead arm” March 6, when his velocity dipped for the first time. He said he felt lethargic March 12, when the Tigers battered him in 2 2/3 innings. An extra bullpen session in between starts, plus the rigors of a more intense workout program, sapped his energy, he said. He promised he would pull back before his next start and there would be improvements. But he suffered from a stomach virus March 17, and lasted just one inning against the Orioles. Then last Saturday in a minor league game against Toronto’s Triple-A hitters, Halladay allowed 11 of 18 base runners to reach base. He blamed a “mushy mound” for his lack of velocity and said throwing more hard stuff against minor league hitters hurt him. Then yesterday he allowed two runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays with Toronto picking up three of those outs on the bases. He said he found it difficult to grip the baseball because the balls were not rubbed up with mud properly before the game. The Phillies also said he is still trying to recover his strength following his sickness.

Again, each of these explanations are completely plausible, but coming off last season’s struggles it would unwise to take them at face value.

If the over/under on Halladay’s ERA this season is 4.19 (average ERA for starters last year) I’d have to take the over.

Conversely, Domonic Brown has been Halladay’s polar opposite. He 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.

Ryan Howard also had a great spring, compiling a .663 slugging percentage, but his career slugging percentage is .551 so he fell .088 short of Dewan’s mark. But Howard’s slugging percentage the previous two seasons is just .468, so maybe he is in line for a bounce back season, too.

Opening Day is three days away.

Predictions for Halladay, Brown and Howard?

Five Topics with Eight Days Remaning in Florida

Domonic BrownThe Phillies board a flight for Philadelphia a week from tomorrow, which means the 2013 season is just 12 days away.

There have many storylines in camp, but as Spring Training in Florida comes to a close everybody seems to be talking about five things.

Let’s take a look at those five topics here:

Roy Halladay. There is reason to be concerned about Halladay. He looked fine in his first two Grapefruit League starts, throwing his fastball in the 89-91 mph range. But his velocity has dropped since then as he has had issues in each of his previous three starts. In his third Grapefruit League start his velocity fell into the 86-88 mph range as he talked about experiencing “dead arm.” He got shelled in 2 2/3 innings in his fourth start March 12, saying he felt lethargic. Then he lasted just one inning in his fifth start Sunday because of a stomach virus. Everybody is asking if Halladay is healthy. It is a fair and legitimate question to ask because Halladay and others in the organization said he was fine last March when he was experiencing lower back problems. But while the health question is justifiable, one also might ask this: Is Halladay simply running out of bullets? He turns 36 on May 14. He has pitched 2,351 1/3 innings from 2002-12, which ranks third in baseball. He has thrown 34,423 pitches in the regular season and postseason in that span, not including Spring Training games, bullpen sessions and warm ups. Maybe time is catching up to him, although he said in February he does not think he is there yet. It is a grim reality if it is true. Meanwhile, the Phillies are putting a positive spin on things, saying Halladay’s problems simply stem from a few mechanical issues and some problems with his cutter. They say all is well. They certainly hope they are right because it would be a blow to their chances if it is not. Halladay threw a bullpen session Wednesday and Rich Dubee said through a team spokesman, “Roy threw very well. He almost lost 10 pounds, so he’s just got to gain some weight back and get his strength.” Halladay is scheduled to make two more starts this spring before the regular season, including Saturday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex. It is strange to be writing this, but while in the past nobody would think twice about a couple poor Spring Training starts from Halladay, some positive results here would put some minds at ease. And not just the minds of fans. Phillies officials are putting up a brave face, but they would like to see some, too.

Read the rest of the story, including thoughts on Domonic Brown, the three remaining bullpen jobs, the fifth outfielder and the two utility infield jobs, here.

Another Good Day for Brown (Hand Not Included)

Domonic Brown gets his hand stepped on and still hits.

He went 2-for-3 today in a 3-2 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He singled sharply to left field in the first inning. But once he got to first, Rays first baseman James Loney stepped on Brown’s right hand as he dove back to first base.

It left a mark, but he stayed in the game after getting the hand treated. He singled to left in the third.

“It’s all good,” Brown said.

Brown is hitting .424 this spring. Charlie Manuel once again called Brown the biggest bright spot in Phillies camp.

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