Brown's drop costs Phils in loss to Brewers
MILWAUKEE – Twenty minutes after the Phillies’ 65th loss of the season was in the books Friday night, Domonic Brown sat next to Vance Worley in front of the pitcher’s locker in the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park.
Brown felt like he had some explaining to do.
“That’s a play I have to make,” Brown said in a conversation with reporters a few minutes later. “I want to come up big for my teammate there. It just didn’t happen.”
Brown was referring to his drop of a long fly ball by Nyjer Morgan with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Yeah, Brown had to make a long run for the ball. Yeah, the wall was approaching. Yeah, it was a tough play.
“That’s a play that has to be made,” Brown said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Brown didn’t make the play. It clanged off his glove, allowing two runs to score. Worley then appeared to lose some of his composure and allowed a two-run single to opposing pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
The four-run inning went a long way in the Brewers claiming a 6-2 win over Worley and the Phillies. The Brewers have beaten the Phillies on consecutive nights by a combined score of 13-6. Twelve of the Brewers’ runs have come with two outs and eight after defensive miscues. On Thursday night, third baseman Kevin Frandsen made a two-out error in the eighth that opened the door for four runs.
Brown’s drop was ruled a triple, but that offered no solace to the Phillies’ outfielder.
“I got back there good,” he said. “I just dropped it.”
Brown and Worley are good friends and longtime teammates in the minor leagues. They spent a few minutes comforting each other after the game.
“We were talking about the game,” Worley said. “We have to brush it off and try to win tomorrow.”
Worley has hit a bit of rut. He has lasted less than six innings in four of his last five starts.
“It’s upsetting,” he said. “I know I’m better than that. I’m putting in the work. My velocity is good. My breaking ball is good. Things just aren’t going my way. Last year, I got in trouble and I got out of it. Now I’m not.”
Worley, of course, is pitching with some calcium deposits in the lining of his elbow. He insists they are not causing a problem. He will have them surgically removed in October. Cole Hamels had similar surgery last October and recovered quickly.
“My arm is healthy enough to be out there pitching,” said Worley, who insists that he doesn’t need to be shut down before season’s end.
Two Brewers continued to inflict pain on the Phillies. Ryan Braun lined a two-run homer to center off B.J. Rosenberg in the sixth and starting pitcher Gallardo held the Phils to four hits and a run over seven innings. In three career starts against the Phils, Gallardo is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA. Braun is 10 for 19 with five homers and eight RBIs against the Phillies this season.
It’s possible that no Phillie is under more scrutiny than Brown in these final two months of the season. The perpetual prospect is back in the majors for a third straight season to either sink or swim.
Much of the focus is on Brown’s defense, an area that has needed considerable improvement.
Manager Charlie Manuel acknowledged that Brown could have caught Morgan’s ball Friday night. “That hurt the inning,” Manuel said. But Manuel also urged patience with Brown, who turns 25 in three weeks.
“I want to tell you something,” Manuel said. “He’s going to make some mistakes. That’s part of him putting his game together. He’s getting better. I see him getting better.”
In 17 games, Brown is hitting .254 (15 for 59) with three doubles and four RBIs. He has walked seven times and struck out six. Brown has not driven the ball well. In fact, it was noteworthy that he pulled the ball hard a couple of times (one was a foul ball, one was a hit) Friday night.
“I still think he’s going to hit,” Manuel said. “But we have to have patience with him. He’s got to play long enough to get comfortable and find himself so he can take off. He’s kind of feeling for it right now.”E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com.