Watch out! Ryan Howard is heating up. Howard, much maligned for his poor batting average this season, has caught fire. He has been the Phillies most valuable player over the past two weeks and will be relied on heavily if the Phillies want to keep the Mets and Marlins in their rear view window.
For Howard, the proof is in the numbers:
Since June 27 (13 games):
.353 average, 8 HR, 18 RBI
This recent surge should not come as a surprise. As the Philadelphia Daily News wrote today, ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’.
In Howard’s two previous seasons in the big leagues, he has played his best late in the season.
In 2006, he went into the Mid Summer Classic with a .278 average and 71 RBI. He finished the ’06 campaign batting .313 with 58 HR, 149 RBI and a National League MVP.
In 2007, Howard’s average jumped 12 points in the second half of the season en route to a division championship.
Back to present day, National League All-Star game manager Clint Hurdle has an available spot on his roster for Tuesday’s game at Yankee Stadium due to Alfonso Soriano’s injury. Is Howard All-Star worthy?
Bill Conlin is on the Howard bandwagon. He thinks Howard’s offensive production is well worth his astronomical strikeout total.