Friday, September 12, 2008

Ryan Howard, So Hot Right Now

Despite what David Murphy would like you to believe, Ryan Howard has been far from disappointing this year. Frustrating? Yes. Disappointing? No. Especially right now, when the games are magnified 10-fold, Mr. Strikeout is carrying a big stick. It's official, Ryan Howard is on fire.

Last night, Howard gave the Phils the lead right off the bat with a two-run homer to straight away center, a lead the Phils didn't relinquish all night. It was his third straight game with a home run bringing his season total to 43, the most in all of baseball. In the last week, Howard is 10-for-26 (.385) with four home runs and 10 RBIs. And, oh yeah, he leads the Majors in RBIs as well, with 129 of them.

Last night, it was the Ryan Howard show. With their backs against the wall, and playoff chances getting close to fading, the Phils desperately needed a win—and they needed to get it going against a guy who hadn't given up a run in 20 straight innings. But a revitalized Jimmy Rollins got things going with a leadoff single against Ben Sheets, and three batters later Howard jumped all over a first-ball fastball and sent it into the bushes in centerfield. Just like that, the Phils were ahead.

Then in the 4th, with the lead trimmed to one, the Phils tacked on two more, the first coming on another smash by Howard that was inches away from a home run. Nevertheless, it resulted in an RBI double for the big man, plating Chase Utley.

Then Pedro Feliz knocked in Howard, and the Phils hung on. With the Mets idle, the Phils pulled within three games of New York and three games of the Brewers in the Wild Card. And the reason was Ryan Howard.

With the way he's swinging the bat, along with a rejuvenated Jimmy Rollins and resurrected Carols Ruiz, Howard and Co. just may be able to pull this thing out yet. Then again, they might not. It certainly looks like Howard is primed to do everything he can to make sure that happens, but that 8th inning still looks to be the death of the Phillies. Not to mention the lack of a 5th starter. Or 4th for that matter.


  1. If Howard keeps hitting like he is and the Phillies make the playoffs is he an MVP candidate? I know his average probably will end up around .250 or so, but he is leading a potential playoff team right now. Any thoughts?

  2. If he leads the league in homers and rbis and they make the playoffs. Maybe. Probably not though, unless they win the division. But under .250, I doubt it.