Scenes From Retro Night: Dom Shines, Everyone Else Just Looks Classic

Scenes From Retro Night: Dom Shines, Everyone Else Just Looks Classic

I'm kind of a nerd for retro nights. Old school unis usually look pretty cool, and along with the gimmick comes a wide-ranging discussion about the team at the time it wore its previous gear. Last night, the Phillies donned a uniform last worn in 1991, the maroon pinstriped offering with the ball-in-P logo. Personally, although I like the current Phillies look, I've always been partial to the previous one. 
Maybe it's because it was the look when I was young and seeing the Phils for the first time (along with the light blues…), but even today, I think I prefer the maroon to the bright red everything. A strong percentage of my ton o' Phillies gear is maroon/gray or some classic alternative to the current primary red. Of course, it was easy to become partial to the current look over the past decade as the club ascended to being among the league's elite. 
Before we get to last night's actual game, if you had the choice, would the Phillies' everyday unis look like last night's, or the current standard? 
The game itself, a 3-2 Phillies loss, was mostly unremarkable. Bronson Arroyo on the mound usually means great things for the Fightins. He entered the night 1-7 in 10 career starts against the Phillies, having allowed 12 homers. Wearing his 1991 Reds pullover, Arroyo was feeling sporty on Wednesday, not allowing a baserunner through four innings. 
Dom Brown changed all that with a big swing of the bat in the fifth, homering for the first time since his 2012 call-up. Courtesy of Cork Gaines, watch this fan get the unfortunate end of Brown's blast.
Just an inning before, Brown had an adventure in right field. Jay Bruce skied a popup that Brown clearly lost in either the lights or a gray sky, and it fell into play as Bruce sprinted all the way to third. After Scott Rolen was hit by a pitch, Reds first baseman Todd Frazier sent another fly ball Brown's way. This one didn't have enough under it to blind Dom, and he made the routine play. Bruce, perhaps not a regular reader of Jim Salisbury's Hose Report, made the silly mistake of running on Brown, who had his revenge. Brown sent a bullet perfectly on-target to Brian Schneider, beating Bruce by at least a step and ending the Cinci threat. [Watch]
Arroyo stayed in his groove though, allowing just three hits on the night and no walks. He didn't have to work too hard, throwing just 86 pitches before turning the game over to Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. A fine defensive play by Cinci's middle infield helped preserve Arroyo's lead, after Brown doubled in the eighth and Placido Polanco reached on a Rolen error. Schneider sent a sharp hit up the middle, but Zach Cozart and Brandon Phillips turned a gem of a double play. 
Kevin Frandsen made a pinch appearance in the ninth, handcuffing Rolen at third to reach base, and Arroyo's night was done. Chapman uncorked a wild pitch that reminded me (again) why I'm not an MLB catcher, and Frandsen moved up to second before Ty Wigginton hit a pinch single to score him. 
The comeback magic ended there though, as Chase Utley flied out and Ryan Howard laced a nice ball to the opposite field, but it was caught by a well-positioned Ryan Ludwick.
Vance Worley battled through six innings, avoiding much damage despite scattering eight hits and a pair of walks. Not a very lucky night for him, but he wasn't bad. Josh Lindblom gave up another bomb, his second in his last three appearances. It proved to be the winning run on a night where Phillies in the starting lineup not named Dom Brown couldn't do much at the plate. 
Yep, true to '90s form, the Phils lost.
For more pictures from the game, check out our 1991 Throwbacks gallery.

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.