Howard’s Lefty Problems

Howard, Utley StrugglingEverybody knows Ryan Howard has struggled terribly against left-handers, especially opposing managers, who happily run a steady stream of them at him late in the game.

Howard has a mere .604 OPS against lefties from 2011-13, including a 1-for-15 effort with one double, one walk and eight strikeouts this season. His .604 OPS against lefties ranks 170th out of 178 qualifying players in baseball in that span. (Coincidentally, Jimmy Rollins‘ .605 OPS ranks 169th.) Howard also has nine home runs, 18 walks and 108 strikeouts in 283 plate appearances against lefties in that stretch.

So it made perfect sense to rest Howard against Cardinals left-hander Jamie Garcia tonight at Citizens Bank Park, although Charlie Manuel said Howard did not play because he has tightness in his right groin. Howard is day to day.

But Manuel also acknowledged Howard’s struggles against lefties, when he said, “This is a good time, gives me a chance to sit him down. He can pinch hit.”

Kevin Frandsen got the start at first base. It is his first start of the season, despite the fact he hit .338 with 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 14 RBIs last season, including a .400 (26-for-65) effort against left-handers. Maybe Frandsen can find playing time at first base when the Phillies face lefties.

It would make sense to rest Howard more against lefties. But if I were a betting man, I’d say Howard continues to get the majority of starts against them. He is making $20 million this season and $25 million in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with a $23 million club option or a $10 million buyout for 2017. The Phillies are thinking long game here, and that means keeping Howard an everyday player. But I think a happy medium can be reached. Manuel doesn’t have to play him every game against lefties, but he also doesn’t have to go into a straight platoon. It would be a good way to get an extra right-handed bat in the lineup, which the Phillies could use. They are hitting just .131 against left-handers this season.

8 Comments

amaro should be fired for giving this stiff 25 million per year, and to think we are stuck with him for another 6 years.

Only another three years, they will probably buy him out in 2017 if his struggles continue

How is Howard’s salary relevant to putting the best team on the field to win ballgames? Isn’t this the object of baseball? What Phillies fans want is a winning ball club. Attendance is currently holding steady at roughly 35,000 per game. The 10,000 missing fans did not suddenly re-appear last night because Halladay was pitching. But they could come back if the Phillies just keep winning. I would have no problem if Howard suddenly develops a “groin pull” whenever the Phillies face the next several left-handers.

Ryan Howards’ value: 3.5 mill platoon DH,

Braves were shutout for the second time in three games last night and for the third time this season. They seem to be falling into their typical feast or famine routine Only a matter of time before their famine catches up to their feast. In the meantime Phillies just need to keep plugging along. The old formula of good pitching and good defense won it for the Phillies last night.

It was nice to see them rally last night. I had my doubts especially when they had the bases load with 1 out and Revere grounded into a double play! In a way it reminded me of Chooch when he first came up. He used to be an automatic out via the double play.

I think Ryan just has to get back to the basics. He needs to get with one of the batting instructors and have them explain to him what the strike zone looks like. He keeps striking out and the pitchers still haven’t thrown a strike to him. He has a great swing if he had a 9 iron in his hands. He would have a great OBP if he only swung at strikes because opposing pitchers don’t throw strikes to him. They know that he swings at bad pitches so why throw strikes.

Ah yes, Ryan Howard, our $25M per year cleanup non-hitter. I think of him as king of the check swing. Pathetic.

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