The next time Domonic Brown hits a home run, he will achieve a career high in that department.
In his limited playing time in 2011 and 2012, the Phillies outfielder hit five home runs each year. He got to that number a lot quicker this season, driving the ball out of the park in the first two games of the weekend series with the Miami Marlins to reach five in 97 at-bats.
If he continues on his current pace, he will flirt with hitting 30 home runs this season.
"I don't think that's out of the realm," manager Charlie Manuel said before Saturday night's game against the Marlins. "I think he's very capable of hitting some. How many? I'd just like to let him play and see how many he can hit."
This is still the time of year when numbers and batting averages can go up and down in a hurry. After the Phillies game Tuesday night in Cleveland, Brown was hitting .211 with one home run and five RBIs in his previous 13 games and his overall average had fallen to .233.
By going 6 for 11 with the two home runs in his next three games, he raised his overall average to a respectable .268.
"When the season started, he was working to hold his own," Manuel said. "I think right now you're starting to see some of the at-bats that were kind of the way he hit in the spring. He was very consistent in the spring, and he showed his power, and he showed his talent. We're starting to see that. That's good. Hopefully he can be consistent with it."
Brown hit .356 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in spring training.
The biggest combined home run total of Brown's career was 22 in 2010, when he hit 15 at double-A Reading, five at triple-A Lehigh Valley, and two with the Phillies. He had a combined 459 plate appearances that season.
"What did I tell you a home run is? It's a well-hit fly ball that comes down behind the fence," Manuel said. "You make nothing of it. You come back, you sit down, and you think about hitting another ball hard, not a home run, and that one might go out. Then you have two. If you think like that, keep things in perspective, and focus on what you're doing, that's how you hit them. You start wanting to hit them and thinking about hitting them and trying to hit them, more than likely you won't succeed."
Does Manuel think Brown can strike 40 well-hit fly balls behind the fence in a single season?
"I think he can do that, yeah," the manager said.
Antonio Bastardo pitched a shaky but scoreless two-thirds of an inning Friday night, walking the first two batters he faced to load the bases before striking out Austin Kearns and Matt Diaz.
The effort left his ERA at 0.90 through 11 appearances this season. The two walks gave him five in 10 innings, which isn't great but still better than the six he had allowed in 71/3 innings after 11 appearances last season.
Manuel said Bastardo's command appears to be better this season.
"Even when he was missing [Friday night], he was missing down low," the manager said. "A lot of times when you miss low, you might end up walking a guy, but you don't get hurt by somebody hitting the ball out of the yard on you. His command low has been better this year."
Third baseman Michael Young was not in the starting lineup for only the third time in 31 games Saturday. Freddy Galvis started at third base and batted second. . . . Ryan Howard and Chase Utley homered in the same game for the 49th time Friday night, the most for two teammates among active big-league players.