Domonic Brown had a rough play in left field during the first inning of Friday’s 3-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
Yet that play doesn’t compare to the difficult time Brown is having at the plate. At this time last year he was tearing up the National League.
The play came when he allowed a Skip Schumaker single to drop in front of him after getting a bad jump.
Brown, who exudes great class despite being in a prolonged slump, said he didn’t want to gamble and dive and then have the ball get by him.
While that was a huge play, especially after Devin Mesoraco hit a two-out three-run homer in the first, Brown’s offensive struggles are a major concern, whether the Phillies want to admit it or not.
Remember last year he was NL Player of the Month in May, after batting .303 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and a .991 OPS?
Brown is now batting .214 with one home run and 15 RBI and a .561 OPS. The Phillies will continue to struggle if this limited production continues.
Brown was yanked in an out of the lineup his first few years and last season, the Phillies stuck with him and he rewarded the franchise with an all-star performance.
However this year, as the statistics show, Brown is a different player. Actually the slide began last year. In his final 31 games, Brown his .253 with zero home runs, five RBIs and a .609 OPS.
Now this year the numbers are worse, but Brown insists that his confidence hasn’t wavered.
“We have some professional hitters here,” he said after Friday’s game. “I think things will turn around for myself and everyone.”
Before the game manager Ryne Sandberg said he had to be patient when his players are in a slump, but Brown and his teammates are swinging at bad pitches. Which means they aren’t’ beating patient at the plate.
So what is there to do?
If the Phillies bench Brown for a few days, their alternative would be Tony Gwynn Jr. (.286 onbase percentage) or John Mayberry Jr, who is now 0 for 14 against righthanded pitching.
So with few viable options, the only solution is for Brown to hit himself out of this slump.
Brown said that Reds starter Alfredo Simon deserves credit and there is no doubt he’s right.
“Simon threw the first ball and my eyes lit up and then it started sinking,” Brown said. “That is the difference between pitchers these days, they are throwing 95 but still have the movement.”
Brown was hitting those pitches at this time last year.
He has played in 38 of the first 39 games and maybe a day off wouldn’t be the worst thing, but for now, Brown has to keep battling, which to his credit, he has. Brown believes it will happen for him and his teammates.
“We have some professional hitters here,” he said. “I think things will turn around for myself and everyone.”
The question is when will it happen? Nobody expects Brown to revert to his May of 2013 form.
Yet nobody expects somebody who is creeping closer to the Mendoza line.
It’s good that Brown believes in his ability. It would be better if he gives the growing skeptics the reason to do the same.