Five facts and/or observations from last night's 7-3 win over the Cardinals. . .
1) Watching crappy baseball in near-freezing temperatures will make anybody cranky, but I still don't understand the vitriol that was directed at Domonic Brown from the left field seats in the fourth inning. Brown allowed a shallow fly ball off the bat of Matt Adams to drop in front of him for a single rather than trying to make a play on the ball. Maybe a better leftfielder gets a better jump and is more confident attacking the ball, but to the naked eye Brown appeared to make a perfectly sensible decision, particularly when you consider that earlier this season Brown took some heat for trying to make a diving play on a ball that instead ended up at the wall for a triple. This time around, the situation called for an abundance of caution: 2-1 game, runner on first base, nobody out, and the No. 7, No. 8, and No. 9 hitters due up. After the game, Charlie Manuel said that Brown made the right play.
"That looked like a Texas Leaguer to me," he said.
But Brown was booed pretty harshly, and a couple of minutes later received some mocking jeers when he made a routine play on the ball. Don't mistake this for a lecture. Fans pay for their tickets and are free to voice their displeasure. I just don't understand the source of it in this instance.
2) Ryan Howard is hitless in his last 10 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. He has two sacrifice flies and an intentional walk but is otherwise 0-for-7 with four strikeouts since April 5, when he had a pair of RBI singles against Wade Davis and the Royals. Erik Kratz's home run in the eighth inning last night was his third hit in 19 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. Combined, Kratz and Howard are 5-for-32 with one extra base hit with RISP this season. The rest of the team has combined to hit .324 with 15 extra base hits in 111 at bats with RISP.
3) The last time the Phillies started 8-11 was 2007.
4) The Phillies have grounded into 18 double plays, second most in the NL, one behind the Giants' 19.
5) Phillies pinch hitters lead the NL in OPS (.990) and home runs (3) and are tied for the lead with 10 RBIs.