Domonic Brown has concussion-like symptoms

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Just awful timing here for the second-place Phillies.

According to beat writer Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly, left fielder Domonic Brown was complaining of concussion-like symptoms Wednesday after banging his head hard at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night while diving for a Carlos Beltran line drive. Brown missed the ball, Beltran wound up with a triple and later scored as the Phillies lost the game 4-1.

Brown will be monitored closely over the next couple of nights by the Philadelphia training staff. He’s going to be on the bench until at least Friday and could be placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list if the symptoms linger throughout this week.

Brown, 25, is batting .271/.316/.531 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI in 99 games this season. It has been a true breakout year for the former top prospect, who had a dismal .235/.316/.396 batting line in 2012.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.