Heart of the Lineup Still Silent
It’s pretty remarkable the Phillies still have a chance to win the NLCS, despite the fact Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have no RBIs in the series.
Utley is hitting .158 (3 for 19) with three walks, two strikeouts, three stolen bases and four runs scored. I’m not sure what is more amazing: he has no extra-base hits or he has scored four runs despite being on base just six times. Utley also has hit just .182 with one homer and four RBIs in his last nine postseason games, dating to Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.
Howard is hitting .294 (5 for 17) with three doubles, one walk, nine strikeouts and one run scored. He has not homered in nearly a month (Sept. 25 against the Mets). He has struck out 27 times in his last 51 postseason at-bats over 14 games. He has just one home run and three RBIs in that stretch, dating to Game 1 of the 2009 World Series.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 1962 New York Yankees are the last team to win a best-of-seven series without getting one RBI from its cleanup hitter. Mickey Mantle hit cleaneup in that year’s World Series, which was played against the San Francisco Giants.
“I’ll go 0-for-whatever if we win,” Howard said. “It doesn’t matter.”
Of course, the Phillies stand a much better chance of winning tonight if they hit Jonathan Sanchez early and often. The Phillies’ Nos. 3 and 4 hitters could help make that happen.