Familiarity vs. pitcher helps Williams with slam

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“When I heard his name, I knew I faced him last year a lot, and I faced him, I think, once this year,” Williams said. “I just had some playbacks in my mind of him. I just was thinking, ‘Square the ball up and stay short, don’t try to get too big.'”

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Williams said he figured Webb would try to throw a first-pitch breaking ball. Maybe his subconscious told him that.

The rookie outfielder, and Phillies’ No. 5 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, hit a first-pitch breaking ball from Webb for a home run on June 11, while Williams was playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Webb for the Yankees’ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate.

“First pitch again, another homer,” he said. “Crazy.”

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“It just wasn’t a good enough pitch,” Webb said about his first pitch in a Brewers uniform. “It was pretty [down the middle]. It’s just got to be a better pitch coming out of the bullpen. You have to have all your stuff working, [including] offspeed.”

The ball left Williams’ bat at 100 mph and travelled a projected 411 feet, according to Statcast™.

“I hit it good,” he said. “I kind of dropped the bat and was watching it. I was like, ‘Go, go, go.'”

Williams is hitting .279 (12 for 43) with two home runs, six RBIs and a .784 OPS in 13 games since the Phillies promoted him on June 30.

Having homered in the final game before the All-Star break, Williams has a pair of homers in his last four games. Of course, Williams also went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Friday. He joked Sunday that the last time he spoke to reporters he struck out four times. Maybe Monday night in Miami will be different.

“He looks good,” Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson said. “The stage doesn’t look to big for him.”

Said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, “He’s been playing very aggressively. He swings the bat aggressively. He has some things he has to change with his swing. He has some holes like everybody else does, [but] you have to like the way he’s playing. I like the way he’s swinging the bat. I’m happy with him so far.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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