Howard Goes Off, Bats Go Silent

howard 0824 2010.jpgI’ve never seen Ryan Howard that angry before.

In fact, the last time I saw Howard that angry was Spring Training 2006. He had just hit a home run against Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who thought Howard “pimped” his home run. Beckett barked at Howard from the Red Sox dugout at Bright House Field. Howard barked back, before dropping his glove and putting his hands in the air, basically telling Beckett to come out.

Beckett never did.

Howard never reached third base umpire Scott Barry in the 14th inning last night, but that’s probably because Placido Polanco and others restrained him. I have to wonder if Howard will be suspended for his actions, although a fine is definite.


The offense scored just two runs in 16 innings, so can’t blame the umpires completely for this one — even if Barry botched the call that led to Howard’s ejection.


Last night was one of the most bizarre games I’ve seen. Ross Gload, who is on the disabled list, was ejected after Howard left the field. (Charlie Manuel explained a player on the DL is not allowed to yell at anybody on the field.) The Phillies, who were out of position players, were forced to move Raul Ibanez from left field to first base, a position he had not played since 2005, and pitcher Roy Oswalt into left field, a place he had never played in his professional career.

Oswalt was the first Phillies pitcher to play in the field since Bill Wilson Aug. 6, 1971.

“I’m not sure what I think about the whole thing just yet,” Jayson Werth said. “I’m going to take a quick nap here and think about it. Come back tomorrow refreshed and act like that didn’t happen. I know I haven’t been playing the game as long as some people, but it’s the first I’ve seen of anything like that. That was just … I’m not going to say what I want to say. I’m going to sleep on it.”


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If the Phillies don’t make the playoffs…this game will be reason why. Strangest and most heartbreaking game I’ve seen in awhile.

There are no words to describe last night’s game. In fact, there are no words to describe this season for the Phils. Their fortitude as a team is being tested time and again. Things that stood out most to me are that the third base umpire, Scott Barry, had a look of fire in his eyes directly aimed at Howard. Anyone would go off if they were the receprient of that look especially if you’re frustrated with yourself. Things were not looking good for Howard all night. He just exploded. The other thing , and this one is positive, is that both Ibanez and Oswalt showed their versatility and willingness to be placed in roles on the field that they’re not use to and are comfortable with.They did their jobs with grit. It was great to see Oswalt smile out in left field and he really endeared himself to me as well as other Phillies fans I’m sure.Welcome to Philadelphia, Roy Oswalt. Thank you for your effort in last nights debackle of a game. Kudoes also go out to Ibanez who showed once again that he’s willing to do anything to get the game won. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Because of his arrogance, MINOR-LEAGUE umpire Scott Barry must be Joe West’s ******* son!

What is it with these team wide hitting funks? The Phillies need to do something different. I got it. Why don’t they get rid of Greg Gross and give the hitting coach job to someone different? I got the perfect candidate – Milt Thompson.

Why not suspend the umpire for his actions as well? I expect to see every player who throws a bat in disgust suspended from now on. It would only be fair. Remember when umpires were a barely visible part of the game who went out and did their job graciously and with professionalism? They are few and far between now as MLB affects the outcome of game after game.

Maybe umpires are no different now than they were then except now they are more visible, literally. When I was a kid, you either attended a game or listened to it on radio. Based on the narrative of the radio announcer, you conjured up your own mental images. Then came more television exposure not limited to quantity of games televised only. As I understand it, the number of cameras used to routinely cover a game has increased to say nothing of the capabilities of each camera and the technological advances used behind the scene such as instant replay and slow motion.

forget about that game!
lets have fun.
new lineup for today.
go phillies

Todd, you are incorrect in your assessment that it’s the offense’s fault for the loss, negating the umpire’s actions and the ejection. Baseball is not a game of blowouts, it’s a game of individual moments. It takes one hit, one pitch to change everything, and that simple fact was violated the minute the umpire imposed himself on the game.

Howard suspended? If anything the umpire should be suspended. The guy was looking for any excuse to eject Howard, they showed him mean mugging Howard a few pitches before. You can’t do crap like that in extra innings. Umpires really need to be held accountable.

SCOTT BARRY>!!!ABUSE OF POWER!! I think you should rewrite your article to highlight the unprofessional taunting of Ryan Howard…if saw game or compared notes with larry anderson or other sports writers you would mention that Howard dropped his shoulders and mouthed “im mad at myself” because the umpire retaliated in a smug defiant mocking of our philly super star. Even if howard and team bats struggling i think no room for this garbage in our favorite past time…The stupid mafia union may stop Barry from being disciplined but i hope the fans continue to give the media streams an ear-full.

Mafia union? Your kidding. Right?

hayes9, c’mon. Yeah, what the umpire did was excessive and egregious. But the Phillies had 7 innings to score off the bottom of the Astros bullpen and that is why they lost the game. The last two guys were legitimate stiffs. The Phillies had to score before the bottom of their own bullpen imploded in the 16th inning.

Howard should have gotten an equipment fine, NOT an ajection. This ump should be fired for his unprofessional and childish behavior…it will never happen, but one can dream. As for the offense, these mega slumps are getting old. That pitcher had an ERA of 5.23 going into the game and they still could not hit him. It is beyond explaination at this point.


Here’s something for our resident Sabremetricians, gurus, sages, mavens and what not: once Utley gets 2 strikes in a count, he is hitting .225. He hits .279 when ahead in the count, .307 when even in the count and .230 when behind in the count. Werth us hitting .356 when ahead in the count, .308 when even in the count, .241 when behind in the count and .229 when he has 2 strikes. When the count goes from 0-1 to 0-2 Utley’s drops from.275 to .173. When the count goes from 0-1 to 0-2 Werth’s average drops from .294 to .228. When the Phillies are behind, Werth hits at a .316 clip which is higher than his .292 clip he hits when the Phillies are ahead. Utley hits .297 when the Phillies are ahead and .248 when the Phillies are behind. What does this show? To me it shows lack of aggression on Utley’s and Werth’s part. Enough already with letting all these strikes fly by early in the counts. The bench can tell a player to hold or swing away on a 3-0 count, why can’t it hold a player responsible after a 0-1 count. This is not to say the next pitch needs to be swung at rather it is a message that you better be sure the next pitch is a ball. Utley and Werth, paralysis by analysis to borrow a Mike Schmidt phrase.

pherris, you are asking for trouble from your enemies with this post……

Sept. 4 – MIL – Halladay (4)
Sept. 5 – MIL – Kendrick (4)
Sept. 6 – FLA – Oswalt and DH spot starter (4)
Sept. 7 – FLA – Blanton (4)
Sept. 8 – FLA – Hamels (4)
Sept. 9 – OFF
Sept. 10 – at NYM – Halladay (5)
Sept. 11 – at NYM – Kendrick (5)
Sept. 12 – at NYM – Oswalt (5)
Sept. 13 – at FLA – Blanton (5)
Sept. 14 – at FLA – Hamels (5)
Sept. 15 – at FLA – Halladay (4)
Sept. 16 – OFF
Sept. 17 – WSH – Oswalt (4)
Sept. 18 – WSH – Kendrick (6)
Sept. 19 – WSH – Blanton (5)
Sept. 20 – ATL – Hamels (5)
Sept. 21 – ATL – Halladay (5)
Sept. 22 – ATL – Oswalt (4)
Sept. 23 – OFF
Sept. 24 – NYM – Blanton (4)
Sept. 25 – NYM – Hamels (4)
Sept. 26 – NYM – Halladay (4)
Sept. 27 – at WSH – Oswalt (4)
Sept. 28 – at WSH – Kendrick (9)
Sept. 29 – at WSH – Blanton (4)
Sept. 30 – OFF
Oct. 1 – at ATL – Halladay (5)
Oct. 2 – at ATL – Hamels (5)
Oct. 3 – at ATL – Oswalt (5)

Another slice of baseball wisdom from pherris. Don’t most (if not almost all) hitters have higher averages when they’re ahead in the count? How is this ground-breaking stuff?
Shane Victorino hits .301 when ahead in the count and .252 when he’s behind over his career.
Pick a team and run the numbers, and I’ll bet you come up with the same thing for most hitters in the Majors.

It’s tough to be “aggressive” when you’re down 1-2 or 0-2 and the pitcher can throw anything close to the plate and you’ll swing. I think you’re over-thinking it. You’re complaining about something that is as old as the game itself.

Can it really be just a coincidence that the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman gets ejected last week for the first and only time in his career (700+ games) and Ryan Howard gets ejected for only the second time in his career (840 games) by the same minor league fill-in umpire, Scott Barry? Barry is either ultra thin-skinned, an attention seeker or just plain incompetent. I wonder how many unnecessary game changing Barry overreactions it will take before they send him back down to Triple-A. Nobody is paying money to see Scott Barry and nobody who pays good money to see a major league game should have that game negatively affected by him or any other not-ready-for-prime-time umpire.

Todd, can you make sure that Philles get this message. I’ve been a Phillies fan for all of my life and I have never seen so much frustration that I see now on the Phillies team. September is almost here and I know that it seems that the baseball gods are against the Phillies right now (I call it the Cliff Lee curse) but guess what people come and go and we just have to make the best of it. Roy Halladay is a great addition and so is Roy Oswalt so we have to wake up because September is just around the corner and if we don’t strike now the goal that we set for ourselves in Spirng Training will slip away. I know the games with the Astros are devastating losses and in a way the Astros is a mimic of our Phillies team. But to be a good team you have to beat yourself so to beat yourself you have to show up and play good baseball. Oswalt said it himself, he hadn’t had so much adrenaline as he did when he was sent to play left field, he was a kid again. And that is what I think is missing from the Phillies team right now, the fun of the game. I know you guys can hit you just have to stay loose and play smart baseball. I believe in all of you guys, Philadelphia believes in you guys and we support you all the way. Play hard guys, play smart and beat yourself tomorrow. The Astros are your shadow so show them that you are the only Phillies team that exist in baseball!!!

muleman: Another flip, evasive answer from you. Did it ever occur to you that by “aggressive” I mean go after some of the strikes included in 0-2 and 1-2 counts and do not let these counts develop? Victorino’s career drop of 49 points in average when ahead as opposed to when behind in the count is better than Utley’s 51 point drop over both of their careers. But this year Utley’s average when behind in count is .230 while his lifetime average is .266. But the biggest drop is Werth’s, this year he is hitting a commendable .361 while ahead in the count but only .238 while behind or 123 points less. Muleman, who am I to believe, you or my lying eyes?

I almost forgot. Great job JA Happ. The Phillies should have given the Astros Hollywood Hamels rather than you. What are you going to do?

let’s get some offense! let’s play some ball. let’s have fun.
pitch, hit, run, score.
let’s go phils

todays fun lineup
let’s go team! team! team!
u guys are the best. don’t let anyone forget that!

It looks like Werth’s brain farts are contagious. And muleman, don’t try to be rational with pherris. Remember, he thinks outside the box.
And JA Happ wishes he had Cole Hamels stuff. The Phillies let him off the hook numerous times last night. Nice pitcher, but he’s a 3-4 at best.

The Phillies let Happ off the hook, not that Happ pitched a good game as he does about 9 of every ten times. Kids…what are you going to do?

I was gonna hang myself after My Braves gave up a 9 run lead to lose to the Rockies in Denver. But then I put on the phillies- astros game and all my troubles seemed so far away. I mean we get swept in CO, that’s bad, but you guys have lost 3 in row at HOME??????Against the ASTROs????? With Roy Halladay pitching???? I slept like a baby and I am even gonna watch this afternoon as the Astros go for the rare road sweep. See ya in September!!!!!

It absolutely IS the lack of offense that is responsible for the LOSSES. They had MORE than enough chances to win that game Tuesday nite. If it came down to Howard’s at bat, it’s the phillies fault. And Howard , not being a rookie, needs to calm down his emotions. As for Bill, the Braves fan, You have won NOTHING , YET. Get over yourself.

pherris: Not let 0-2 and 0-2 counts “develop?” By doing what, swinging at every first pitch? How many of those will they swing and miss, thus “developing” an instant 0-1 count? Most of them, since god hitters fail 70% of the time.
Keep on giving examples of players who hit better when they’re ahead in the count, and you’ll continue to prove my point that you are sucking on a dry hole.
Then, you’d be on here complaining that they swing at too many first pitches.
As for whom to believe, why would I trust lying eyes?

Another slice of twisted logic from the muleman. So from the Book of Muleman, we get this little nugget of wisdom: The only alternative to never swinging at a first pitch is to swing at every first pitch. Let us not forget this second nugget: Good hitters fail 70% of the time. D-a-m-n, folks, did muleman get me again in his own inimitable fashion or what?

Yeah, he did get you pherris. You are just too ignorant about baseball to realize it.

phan52 ….Listen up, Doofus. Rather than suggesting that Utley and Werth flail away at every first pitch, to repeat myself, I am asking they be more aggressive. It seems to me that a hitter does not want a reputation that he either always swings at a first pitch or never swings at a first pitch. I would characterize both Utley and Werth as guys far more likely to not swing at a first pitch than guys who will swing. I am sure if there is a stat out there proving otherwise, you will bring it to our attention. Well, maybe not because you do not seem to like humble pie. One last thing, between you and muleman inquiring minds want to know which one of you is Edgar Bergen and which one is Charlie McCarthy?

phan52: Do you know where I can get team and player batting stats by date range? For example, get the Phils team BA and SLG between two specific dates? I’ve poked around a lot and can’t figure out how to do it there. Thanks.

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