Is it Time to Call-Up Dom Brown? [AUDIO]
Cliff Lee was on a tear last night against the Dodgers. Like a paper shredder. But not for paper. For aluminum foil. (Or some alloy of metal that's crazy-stronger, yet is eluding my reach at the moment. Long time ago, AP Chem was.) 8 innings. 12 strikeouts. 122 pitches. 92 strikes. (Which, yeah, was historic on multiple counts. Some of them back-handed.) Yeah. Tear.
Then, all of a sudden, as the summer sun tucked itself away behind the horizon (which seemed pretty emblematic of all things good turning their back on these Boys Of Slumber), it went straight to hell. Elian Herrera crashed a deep fly ball to left. Juan Pierre chased. He lept. The ball fell. Phillies lose, 2-1. Cliff Lee's biological reaction took another 72 days off his life expectancy, which, when tallied with that of his last egregiously inexplicable loss -- when he literally pitched himself to the DL against the Giants -- has got his 2012 deductions (that's right, just for this year) topping 149 days. Tough, I know.
The most blaring (and least logical) reaction? WHY THE HELL WAS PIERRE IN THE GAME?!? WHERE WAS JOHN MAYBERRY?!? Funny you should go with that verbiage, Philly fans. Because while Pierre was in left for the top of the frame, he was due up first at the bottom. That's right. In the lead-off spot. In a clutch situation. The same slot and stakes that leans an ensemble of Philly fans toward Pierre's .369 OBP on the year (or .500 for his last 17 at-bats). But whatever. Psh. Drivel. Because Pierre went all Phillip's head and screwed it up. Got Lee his third loss on the year. The Phils their fourth in a row, to dip below .500 for the first time since May 23. (Apropos. Because as badly as the Phils needed Cole Hamels' 7th win on the year, in what otherwise would've been a series sweep by the Nationals...on national (no caps) TV...they could really use him Wednesday. Hamels goes Thursday. At 1:05 p.m. When the 90 percent of us with jobs are working. Damn unemployed. So privileged.) Also their second four-game skid in the last two weeks. Thanks loads, Juan Pierre.
To which he replied -- to these misguided masses -- "My Bad, Bro."
Said Pierre: "It hit the wall. It got, like, inches from my glove. Maybe coulda had an extra step to jump. May have jumped to soon on it, and it got behind me, and hit the fence. But it's a ball I've caught in the past in that situation. You've gotta make a play, and I didn't. So you can hang this one on me, fellas."
(Aside: So homely and cozy and chummy, Pierre is there. Feel for him. I do. You should, too.)
Oh don't you worry, Juanny -- they will. And on the premise that John Mayberry should've been in the game. Which Charlie Manuel, for all the "umming" and "like, you knowing" and "at the same timing" that filled out his post-game presser (how they do, basically, every Manuel post-game presser), fielded marvelously. And, for once, clearly. Chalk one up for Charlie.
Said Manuel: "I seen that play. And the ball, if he got back to the wall, (John Mayberry's) taller than Juan Pierre. But he's gotta get back there."
(Aside: Behold, the rhetorical subtlety of Charlie Manuel.)
Which, unless I'm missing some last-minute pact between Major League Baseball and ACME that OKs strapping big, red, cartoonish rocket packs, wasn't happening with the clumsily long-legged (kind of looks like a 13-year-old 32 seconds after a 7-inch growth spurt; or a baby giraffe, take your pick) Mayberry. Not. A. Chance.
Speaking of cards and gambles and making the most of what you're dealt: Pretty sure that nowhere in the equation was Domonic Brown, who, wouldn't you know it, is swinging a flaming axe like some vidjeo game character I'm not nearly game-freakish enough to note by name.
Writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:"(Domonic Brown's) hitting .415 (17-for-41) in his last 10 games with 4 home runs and 13 runs scored. The 24-year-old's batting average had dipped to .231, but this streak has bumped it to .282. Fifteen months ago, he broke his right hamate bone, an injury that typically saps power for about a year."
Coincidence? Causation? Who cares?!? If the Phillies have been looking for an excuse, statistical or anecdotal to dial up Dom from Lehigh Valley, they've got it. Whatever it is. Not sure how you shake that in the lineup. Maybe, just maybe, give Shane Victorino -- he's .158 (3-for-19) with 4 strikeouts his last seven days -- an unceremonious seat? And save the "hand thing" noise.
1 G. Not "several Gs." Again: Only feels it when he's swinging left-handed. Wait, what's that? You wouldn't want him batting exclusively right-handed -- even though it's getting him a .320 average, versus the .225 he's slopping together when he goes goofy -- in this super stacked right-handed lineup?!?
Dom Brown bats left. Problem solved.
Same case could be made for giving Hunter Pence a break. (Indefinitely.) Though he's No. 2 on our soon-to-be-sat watch, given his power (he leads the team with 13 HRs) and payroll (he hauls, per year, $900,000 more than Victorino) implications. I'd be fine with either.
So long as it gets Brown in the lineup. Look: It's time. We need to see what he's got. He's either major league material, or something you'd get from Michael's. (Arts and crafts store. What? Wifey said we'd only be a second...) We need closure. We needed closure, like, a rhetorical yesterday. Don't care if it's too much pressure for an up-and-comer to bear. (Which, it should be noted, would be a lot, given that the slightest sliver of a turnaround would probably drive Philadelphians to drafting action verbs. Though "Browning" just sounds raunchy... We'll work on it.) The Phillies need whatever Brown's got. (Which, whatever it is, has gotta be at least the sum of the parts of Pete Orr, Mike Fontenot and Brian Schneider. Gotta be.) The fans need whatever Brown's got. Like, now.