May 12, 2013 |
A CROSSROADS is no place to get sentimental, and the Phillies have the mother of all of them looming on the horizon. Forget about whether they can claw their way back into contention. What happens on the field over the next couple of months will have little impact on the dire situation that will greet them come November, when they will no longer have three of their most productive hitters in the order under contract. Second base, third base and catcher: Good luck filling them.
May 13, 2013 |
PHOENIX — Every Phillies hitter had to pass Charlie Manuel before stepping into the on-deck circle Saturday. The manager positioned himself at the top of the dugout steps for the entirety of a 3-1 victory over Arizona. He talked strategy with Michael Young. He patted Ryan Howard on the back. He shook his head, slammed his fists together, and watched more offensive futility. "I was thinking there during the game," Manuel said. "We have 125 games left. We're going to hit. " On this night, three runs patched together by walks, singles, stolen bases, wild pitches, and sacrifices were enough despite 11 stranded runners.
May 16, 2013 |
The Phillies insisted before the game that revenge wasn't the motive, only the chance to get closer to .500. Afterward, Kevin Frandsen admitted that consecutive routs in Cleveland two weeks ago served as a motivating force. After being outscored by 20-2 by the Indians in two games, the Phillies earned revenge on Tuesday night with a 6-2 win at Citizens Bank Park. "They kicked our butt [in Cleveland] and I hope the guys would realize that and I feel like we did," said Frandsen, who got the Phillies going with a solo home run in the first inning.
December 31, 2008
What? Ryan Howard, Mr. Phillies, finished fourth in a year when the Phillies won the World Series? Well, yes. So much is made of what Howard does too much of that sometimes what he does do seems underappreciated. It is appreciated exactly the right amount. In a two-horse race, Howard finished second in NL MVP voting, well behind Albert Pujols, mainly because Howard, the 2006 MVP, struck out 199 times and hit .251, lower than any MVP winner. Howard, in his third full season, led the NL in home runs and RBI, but with all the whiffs and the laughable .215 average through June, finishing second was justice served.
September 11, 2010 |
NEW YORK - Ryan Howard either can't explain it or would prefer not to even try. After all, superstition is in just about every baseball player's DNA, so why invite a jinx? But for whatever reason - sharper focus, pennant-race adrenaline - September has been Howard's most productive month since he took root as the Phillies' full-time cleanup hitter in 2006. He's at it again. Howard hit an impressive bases-empty home run to tie Friday's game against the Mets at Citi Field, 3-3. It was his fifth homer in 10 games this month and third in three games.
April 15, 2009 |
Ryan Howard has made a number of changes since the Phillies won a World Series championship last October. He signed a multiyear contract. He dropped about 20 pounds. He labored to improve his defense. And, canny observers may have noticed, he began wearing a mouthpiece during games. The first baseman, 29, is always seeking ways to improve. When he saw Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez sporting a clear mouthpiece on his lower row of teeth last season, Howard was intrigued.
October 28, 2009 |
Position: First base Height, weight: 6-4, 260 Age: 29. Birthdate: Nov. 19, 1979 Hometown: St. Louis Years pro: 5 How acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 amateur draft. This year: Howard is again in the middle of the National League MVP race after he hit .279 with 45 home runs and 141 RBI in the regular season. Even when he struggles to hit for average - he's a career .279 hitter - Howard has the ability to carry a team with his production numbers.
April 11, 2007
It wasn't hard to score Ryan Howard's appearance on the the "Late Show with David Letterman" last night. The Phillies first baseman hit a grand slam. Howard, while obviously more at home on the baseball diamond, more than held his own. Time after time, Letterman lobbed softball questions that the Phillies star hit out of the park to the delight and laughter of the audience. In one lighthearted exchange, Letterman discussed whether Ryan anticipated pitches. "You're a tremendous hitter," Letterman said.
July 13, 2011
ON THE DAY AFTER the All-Star Game was played in Phoenix without Ryan Howard, this column is directed at the haters and bashers who have been coming out of the woodwork in larger numbers than usual. They are predictable as smog in a heat wave. They pretend to be knowledgable baseball fans, but trip themselves up every time because they are dead wrong. And egregiously stupid. I hear the reason why he was not voted into the All-Star Game by the fans - and Phillies fans basically ignored him while stuffing the ballot box for an injured Shane Victorino - is because the National League has all these great first basemen.