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TBOH Debate: Dom Brown and the Philadelphia Phillies offensive woes at home

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Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Philadelphia Phillies.  Joining me this week are Spencer Bingol, Emily Gruver, and Michael Lecke. We will discuss if a demotion would help Domonic Brown and what’s behind the Phillies’ offensive woes at their home stadium.

At this point, is it worth sending Dom Brown to the minors to get his head cleared up?

Spencer

The Phillies don’t have the luxury of being able to send Brown to the minors. As a by-product of the way the front office shuttled him around in his first major league seasons, they’ve expended all three of his option years.

Mike Moustakas. Image Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For instance, when a former top prospect like Mike Moustakas of the Royals struggles, their commitment to him at the Major League level in past years means they haven’t had to expend options on sending him to Triple-A. The Phillies sent Domonic Brown down to Lehigh Valley for well over 20 days in each of 2010, 2011, and 2012 after his initial promotion.

Now, in order to send him down to regain confidence, he’d have to pass waivers from all other 29 teams. Despite his struggles, he’s an athletic, cheap outfielder with enormous potential. He’d be seen as a “change of scenery candidate” and taken very quickly.

The Phillies’ best hope is to play him every day until he gets hot again. At that point, they can either ride out his initial contract or hope to sell high on him.

Emily

Definitely. The Phillies need to prove a point to Domonic Brown that he needs to improve immediately. Hopefully he can get more at-bats and playing time out in the outfield to work on his game in the minors.

The Phils need to do something about it, because all of his errors are coming in crucial parts of the game. The fans are tired of it and there needs to be a change.

Mike

When I wrote this question, I forgot that Brown was out of options, and as Spencer mentioned, there is no chance he would go unclaimed.

Assuming that they could somehow squeeze him by, I don’t know what the point would be. He’s proven he can hit minor league pitching, and I don’t think the minor league staff is going to be able to teach him anything that he can’t learn at the majors.

It’s not like the Phillies have a ton of credible replacements either. Maybe when Darin Ruf is healthy, they give him more time. But does anyone think that John Mayberry, Jr. would be some sort of savior?

The only reason I could see doing it would be to give him a chance to clear his head. But considering the way the Phillies have plummeted from contention, he’ll be getting plenty of pressure-free at bats at the major league level for the rest of the year.

Michael

It’s too late to send Dom Brown to AAA to get his head cleared up. This season is too far gone.

Earlier this season, after the “Mother’s Day Meltdown”, I suggested the Phillies should demote Antonio Bastardo. All he did was turn on a dime and go on a fantastic stretch since then. Good thing the Phillies ignored me.

I think Brown could have a similarly rapid rebound but we just don’t know how long it will take him to reach rock bottom. Allowing Brown the rest of this season to recover at the major league level is a better long-term plan. And if he fails to make the adjustments in the ashes of 2014, you anticipate starting him next season at AAA unless he somehow wins a job next spring.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think is the main cause for the Phillies’ lack of run scoring at home?

Spencer

Small sample size. They also aren’t winning on the road, they’re just losing at a slightly less-bad rate. Over half a season, it’s hardly significant.

There are a few teams each season with worse records at home than on the road, and those tend to correct themselves the next year. I could understand an argument that some offensive-heavy teams would struggle more in a pitching-friendly home park, but Citizen’s Bank Park is relatively neutral-to-slightly hitter friendly, in terms of park factors.

As much as beat writers and post game interviewers may ask players about it, it’s not a sustainable trend. It’ll likely correct itself by season’s end.

Emily

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I think the main reason is just the poor at-bats. They are falling in the count 0-2, and they aren’t moving the runners when needed. They are just not playing smart baseball most of the time.

Mike

They’re just not a good run scoring team in general, and that has happened to manifest itself more during home games. It’s not like they’re bludgeoning teams on the road either.

The good news is that I feel they have underperformed a bit, so their home scoring will probably improve. Not enough to make a huge difference in the team’s place in the standings, but I think there will be some improvement.

Michael

The Phillies can’t score at home because they can’t score in general. I don’t know why it’s worse at home but the bottom line is there are too many holes in the lineup on a nightly basis. Easy outs will kill you.

What do you think? Feel free to add your opinion in the comments below!

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