Tip-Off for 6/6/13 (featuring Stokley Carmichael): So far, Domonic Brown is doing it for the Phillies
The fans’ adoration for players in Philadelphia is fleeting. Ryan Howard knows better than anyone.
Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown came up from the minors in 2010 advertised as a player who could solidify a shaky outfield rotation. More importantly, the Phillies were adding a young stick with plenty of pop to an already formidable lineup. After three years of cameo appearances with the big club, Brown has become the star of the show in 2013 — to the delight of the front office and fans.
Ah, the fans.
Domonic Brown tore through the month of May like a tourist through a Philly cheesesteak. The NL Player of the Month finished with 33 hits 12 home runs and 25 RBIs. Brown — who batted a paltry .233 in the month of April raised his average to .303 last month. In the opening week of June, he has not slowed down — batting .438 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. Brown leads the NL in homers with 18.
The power surge by Brown is a welcome sight for Phillies fans — who have watched their franchise decline steadily since winning the World Series in 2008. Injuries to superstars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley has taken much of the sting out what once was the most feared lineup in baseball. Poor production revealed what was a shoulder injury to pitcher Roy Halladay and has the former NL Cy Young Award winner contemplating his future, placing the onus on Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and others. Poor trades and lack of landing major free agent signings has left the farm system depleted.
Brown hasn’t always been in the good graces of the fans. Brown was up and down more than a hotel elevator between the Phils and the minors. Since 2010, trade rumors and the bust tag were attached to Brown. The Phillies allowed beloved right fielder Jayson Werth to walk as a free agent in hopes Brown would step in and produce immediately.
Up until last month, everyone have waited.
The dilemma now facing Brown is consistency. He has seen his share of big league pitches — which is good. One glaring stat is Brown’s number of walks, he currently has 11 for the season. Last month, he became the first player in major league history to hit 10 or more home runs in a month and not draw a walk.
Ryan Howard has yet to warm up and Chase Utley is on the shelf. It’s on Brown and the pitching staff to hold things down for the Phils until more bats come around. The Phils have climbed back into the division race, trailing the Atlanta Braves by 7.5 games.
The 6’5″ Brown has hit 10 home runs in his last 12 games, thanks to a more aggressive approach at the plate. With no one really “protecting” Brown in the lineup, pitchers may continue to challenge him or he may begin to see his share of pitches outside the strike zone. With all Brown’s struggles and sudden success, it’s hard to put a finger on where he is headed.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Brown can ultimately do for the Phillies.
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