Phillies' Brown gets his crack against lefty pitching


Monday, June 6, 2011
Posted: 6:30 p.m.

By Reuben Frank

Domonic Brown admits that he was a little curious to see the Phillies lineup when it was posted in the clubhouse Monday afternoon.

After going 1 for 17 in his first four games with the Phillies this year, Brown has hit .448 in the last 10 games on 13 for 29.

Manager Charlie Manuel has been playing Brown almost exclusively against righties, but with Brown looking more and more comfortable at the plate every day and the Dodgers scheduled to pitch left-hander Ted Lilly against the Phils in Mondays homestand opener, Manuel decided it was finally time to let Brown start a game against a lefty.

I was just making sure I was ready until that lineup gets up, Brown said before the game. And once I saw that I was in it, I was ready to go.

This will be Browns third career start against a left-handed pitcher and first since Aug. 1, 2010, when he went 1 for 3 against John Lannan in the Phils 6-4 win over the Nationals in Washington. One day earlier, he was 0 for 3 against Nationals southpaw Ross Detwiler.

In his brief career, the 23-year-old Brown is hitting just .111 vs. lefties on 2 for 18 with one double and six strikeouts. He only has five at-bats against lefties during his current big-league stint, with one hit and one strikeout. Brown is hitting .278 lifetime against righties and .317 this year.

Overall, Brown has his average up to .304 in 14 games since being recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley on May 20.

Brown said facing left-handed pitching isnt a big deal to him, he just has to focus on his mechanics and keeping his shoulder in.

I hit lefties pretty well in the minor-leagues, Brown said. I love to face the lefties. (You have to) stay closed in on lefties. If you dont as a left-handed hitter, you wont touch them at all. You have to keep your front shoulder in. You cant drift to the ball. You have to stay balanced. Thats why Charlies working me in slow to really make sure Im ready.

Brown will bat seventh and play right field, with Ben Francisco getting the nod in left in place of Raul Ibanez, who is hitting .200 in his last nine games.

I thought it was time to get Raul off his feet and give him a blow, Manuel said. Also, I like Domonic playing against Lilly. He throws straight over the top down. ... You get a better look. Hes used to seeing guys from the right side, but a lefty who throws from up here (over the top) is easier to follow.

Lopes returns to Citizens Bank Park
Monday marked Davey Lopes first trip back to Philadelphia since the Phillies cut ties with the highly regarded baserunning coach when contract talks broke down in November. A couple days later, Lopes accepted a coaching position with his former team, the Dodgers.

Manuel spoke highly of Lopes before the game, crediting him with the Phillies outstanding base stealing numbers from 2007 through 2010.

Davey, he could see things, and the stolen base was something that he kind of embedded confidence in our guys, and there was a trust there, Manuel said. He made basestealing fun and a challenge to them.

The Phillies stole 138 bases in 2007 and 136 in 2008, fourth-most in baseball both years. They have 42 this year, 17th-most in baseball.

Manuel said the change isnt necessarily because Lopes left. Its because the Phillies are older. And slower.

Ask yourself if weve got the same speed, and if you say we have, then you put a clock on us, and thatll answer it, he said. They were much younger (then), and they were more ambitious. Not that theyre still not, but theyre more established and theyre not like the Florida Marlins are right now.

Lee hoping to straighten out
Lefty Cliff Lee faces the Dodgers Monday night coming off two of his worst starts as a Phillie. Lee has allowed 10 earned runs in 13 13 innings in his last two starts. In his last six starts, hes got a 4.20 ERA.

Lee has already walked more batters in 80 innings this year (19) than he allowed in 212 13 innings last year. He has 12 walks in his last four starts after walking just 29 in his previous 47 starts.

Command has definitely played a part in it, because hes been getting balls up, Manuel said. And when hes good, he commands the strike zone and controls the game and hes down and he throws up when he wants to. Hes been getting balls in the middle of the plate. When he throws a good game, he throws a lot of strikes, but theyre on the corners. Theyre quality strikes.

E-mail Reuben Frank at

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