Domonic Brown’s Run Helping Take Pressure Off His Teammates
PHILADELPHIA—Just behind Citizens Bank Park’s left field jumbotron on Tuesday, a thick cloud of black smoke spilled into the warm spring air.
The player who mans the closest position to the presumed blaze absolutely on fire these days, something that’s likely caught onto the rest of his Phillies.
More importantly, the attention his run has drawn has created a pressure-free environment for the rest of his teammates, many of them struggling.
“What you’re seeing, I think that’s right,” said manager Charlie Manuel.
How wide-reaching is Domonic Brown’s smokescreen?
Since the start of May...
Ben Revere rattled off a .312 month after hitting .204 in April, helping bring his average to .250 on the year. He’s also better settled into center field, an ability that was advertised near the top of his list.
“He’s starting to get some hits, be more consistent,” said Manuel, who doesn’t think Revere’s pressing as much either. “I definitely think that can have something to do with it.”
Erik Kratz has reversed a .191 April with a .286 May, crushing four home runs and working a .975 OPS over 14 games, a particularly significant contribution in light of Carlos Ruiz’s injury.
Beginning on May 8, Jimmy Rollins cruised to a .294 average over 82 at-bats in 21 games through the end of the month. This, from the guy long tabbed the Phillies catalyst.
The main commonality between all three? They’ve taken more walks and fewer strikeouts as Brown has drastically altered his own approach.
Freddy Galvis has shaken two slumps since Brown began demonstrating what, exactly, he can do for the Phillies, his latest a 1 for 22 between May 25 and 30. He’s 5 for 15 in four games since.
And highly regarded 23-year-old rookie Cesar Hernandez made his major league debut with minimal scrutiny. He’s hit only .217 in 23 at-bats in six games since May 29.
Brown’s run can’t last forever, though, and it’s incumbent on these players to perform without the shade of Brown’s break-out providing relief.
But it’s at the very least likely to bridge the gap between these Phillies and the returns of Ruiz and Chase Utley, who GM Ruben Amaro has said will be back in mid-June.
For a club who’s season could well be over by July 31, Brown has offered reason to believe.