In the Nick of time: Adjustments help rookie

Williams has three extra-base hits in a loss to the Angels

In the Nick of time: Adjustments help rookie

ANAHEIM --  Nick Williams made the adjustments Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

He ripped a two-run home run to center field in the second inning of a 5-4 loss to the Angels. It was his fifth homer of the season.

Angels right-hander Parker Bridwell threw a first-pitch curveball to Williams for a strike to start the plate appearance. He followed with a changeup, and Williams smashed it 397 feet to hand the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Angels center fielder Mike Trout jumped at the wall and nearly robbed Williams of the home run, but the ball tipped off the top of his glove and carried over the fence.

"I thought it was going to be caught at the last minute," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Williams went 3-for-4 with two doubles and the home run in the series finale. The rookie is hitting .294 with six doubles, three triples, five home runs, 21 RBIs and has an .892 OPS in 27 games.

But Williams entered the night hitting just .160 (4 for 25) with nine strikeouts in his previous six games as pitchers stopped throwing him a steady diet of first-pitch fastballs.

Williams is an aggressive hitter. He swings at the first pitch just under 50 percent of the time, so pitchers stopped helping him. He saw first-pitch fastballs 68 percent of the time in his first 13 games, but it dropped to 56 percent in his previous 14 games.

That number is just 52 percent in his past seven.

"It's a game of adjustments," Williams said. "If you prove you can hit it then they've got to go to something else. I guess they didn't think I could hit offspeed, so I made the adjustment."

Said Mackanin: "They were not well-located pitches, but still, when you make those kind of adjustments it's huge. That's what he has to continue to do. And I think he will."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for 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.