Howard fouled a ball off of a toe on his other foot during Saturday's game. Asked about it, Howard said: "We're hoping it's not a big deal."
Hunter Pence always wanted to experience a champagne celebration of a championship, and the Phillies let him have it in a big way after they clinched the NL East Saturday night. As soon as Pence entered the clubhouse, he was the first to have the bubbly poured down his throat.
"They all attacked me," Pence said. "It was special, very special. It's what you play for, to get to the postseason. It's not the ultimate goal, but it's a big step."
Pence certainly did his part in the 9-2 win over the Cardinals, with two hits and two RBIs. His first-inning double gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He also walked twice.
Bastardo and Stutes
A priority for the Phillies is to get relievers Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes back on track before the playoffs begin Oct. 1.
Bastardo had given up five runs and walked five in his last five appearances after he was practically unhittable most of the season. Stutes almost squandered a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of Saturday's game when he allowed two runs and four hits in two-third of an inning. Brad Lidge came in to finish the inning.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Bastardo threw the ball well in his last outing and is on the cusp of regaining his form. Stutes, Dubee said, is having some problems locating his pitches.
"He's making mistakes," Dubee said of Stutes. "He was getting away with them earlier. The more exposure you get at this level the more they know what you're capable of doing. He's a two-pitch guy, and if you're a two-pitch guy you better be able to pound the strike zone consistently. Last night, he got two outs right away and then he goes 3-0 to the next hitter. That right there is when you have to close out an inning. It should be 0-1 instead of 3-0. But that's youth. His slider is the same, but when you elevate it over the plate there's a chance you'll pay a price."
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at firstname.lastname@example.org
or @rayparrilloinq on Twitter.