Ryan Howard‘s numbers through 66 games: .247, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, .336 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage. He is tied for eighth in the league in home runs and is third in RBIs. He also leads the league in go-ahead RBIs (18) and game-winning RBIs (10). But his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are the lowest marks of his career.
Projected home runs and RBIs: 32 and 130.
“To me it’s all about going out and winning games,” Howard said yesterday after driving in the winning run in the seventh inning against the Cubs. “Batting average, it is what it is. Some people will look at it and glorify it. For me, I’m trying to go out there and put up runs.”
Asked what he thinks of his year, Howard said, “I think it’s been good. The only real down thing is probably that, batting average. I think batting average is what a lot of people will look at and say, ‘Oh, he’s having a bad year.’ But I feel good in other ways. Just continue to grind it out.”
I asked Ruben Amaro Jr. the same question yesterday. He said he looks at Howard’s run production. Howard is driving in runs, so he is happy. But I’m sure both would agree Howard could be even better. We’ve seen him better. We’ve seen him win the MVP in 2006 and finish in the top five in MVP voting in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Howard’s .809 OPS is 26th out of 75 qualifying players in the National League. He ranked 17th in 2010, ninth in 2009, 14th in 2008, sixth in 2007 and second in 2006. Of course, Howard is seeing fewer fastballs than earlier in his career — he gets a fastball just 46.6 percent of the time this season, compared to more than 50 percent from 2004-08 — but we’ve seen him dominate the league before. Can he do it again? The Phillies certainly hope so as his five-year, $125 million contract extension kicks in next season. What do you think?
From Elias Sports Bureau: Roy Oswalt snapped a four-game losing streak yesterday despite allowing three runs in the top of the first inning. Oswalt was 2-8 in 11 previous starts in which he allowed three or more first-inning runs. Oswalt (154-87) has the third-most decisions among active pitchers who have never lost five in a row, behind Roy Halladay (178-89) and Tim Hudson (170-92).
Halladay has never lost more than three straight decisions.