Domonic Brown was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game. It was the first time this season Sandberg has kept the slumping Brown out of the lineup on consecutive days.
The Phillies were matched up against lefthanded pitchers both Sunday (Washington's Gio Gonzalez) and last night (Toronto's J.A. Happ), and Sandberg said that's why Brown was out prior to yesterday's game. Oddly, Brown entered the week with more success against lefthanders (.385, 10-for-26) than righthanders this season (.195, 15-for-77).
"He's working on things, he's making some adjustments," Sandberg said. "It's early enough in the season that he's just a hot streak away from getting back where he needs to be. I think that's right around the corner."
If 2014 follows a similar pattern to 2013 for Brown, perhaps Sandberg is correct.
Last season, Brown entered play on May 6 hitting .250 with a .313 OBP, .423 slugging percentage, eight extra-base hits (including five home runs) in 115 plate appearances in 31 games. In his next 30 starts, from May 6 to June 8, Brown wielded what was arguably the hottest bat in baseball, batting .331/.352/.760 with 22 extra-base hits (14 home runs) in 125 plate appearances.
Brown entered play yesterday hitting .243/.301/.311 with five extra-base hits (one home run) in 113 plate appearances in 28 games.
The lefthanded-hitting Cody Asche, like Domonic Brown, was also out of the lineup for the second straight game. Asche, hitting .221 in 25 games, showed signs of coming out of a monthlong funk in his last two games in the lineup, however. He had his first multihit game since Opening Day on Friday and hit his first home run since Opening Day on Saturday . . . Ethan Martin (shoulder) began his official rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Sunday, when he walked one in a scoreless inning. Martin could join the Phillies' bullpen later this month . . . Cole Hamels, scratched from his scheduled start Sunday because of flu-like symptoms, will make this third start since returning from the disabled list tonight. Hamels is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts against Toronto. Hamels enters today one victory shy of career win No. 100.