It has become painfully clear Ryan Howard is a .250 hitter. Over the last two seasons pitchers have made their adjustments while Howard has not. He began this season on a hopeful note, laying off the kind of pitches that leave him flailing and dismayed, but by early Summer he'd reverted to his mean and the strikeouts started piling up again.
Last night he doubled in his first plate appearance and then struck out three successive times including in the eighth inning with two men on and one out when the Phils were trailing the Marlins by a run. Needless to say, he didn't look good doing it.
Howard hasn't hit a home run since July 27th. Truth be told, he hasn't been hitting anything much since then. Pitchers are making fewer mistakes to Howard largely because they can exploit more holes than ever.
* * * * * * * *
Over the last week or so those Phillies who began life as Cleveland Indians have accounted for a fair amount of the team's success. Cliff Lee has produced two of their three wins and Ben Francisco threw out a runner at home plate and hit a two-run homer last night, accounting for the Phils only runs.
Good thing they didn't go for Roy Halladay.