Friday, May 23, 2008

Phils Win! Howard Breaking Out?

The Phils beat Roy Oswalt and the Houston Astros last night by a score of 7 - 5. There were several heroes last night, but the first one that should be discussed is the Big Man, Ryan Howard.

Ryan Howard had 3 hits last night, including an opposite field shot off of Oswalt that was reminiscent of Howard's MVP year, when it seemed everything was hit the opposite way. This game for RyHo is on the heels of the game in Washington on Wednesday night, when Howard jacked 2 homers and really looked confident at the plate for the first time in a long time. A confident Ryan Howard will go a long way as the baseball season heads into the Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial start of Summer).

Also of note for Howard: his average is now above the Mendoza line. Howard's average, after two straight 3-hit games, stands at .207.

Want another hero? How about Pat Burrell? Burrell hit a pinch hit home run that broke a 5 -5 tie in the 8th inning.

Pat Burrell? Are you kidding me?

How bad must Burrell want the one more big contract before he goes on permanent happy hour? Maybe that's a bit cynical, because you'd like to think that Burrell could have done the sorts of things he's done this year with a little more consistency in the past.

Want another hero? How about more than one hero? The Phils bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings after Phils starter Kyle Kendrick gave up 5 earned runs over 5 innings. Ryan Madson, JC Romero, Chad Durbin (who picked up the win), Tom Gordon, and Brad Lidge all combined to hold the Astros down offensively until the bats could wake up and provide the winning margin. Coming back to Houston and picking up a save in a town where he caught a little heat must have been especially satisfying for Brad Lidge. It was his 12th save on the year, and he lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.43.

The series against Houston continues tonite at 8:05 (televised by CSN) with Adam Eaton facing Brad Backe.

Did you notice?

- Houston's Lance Berkman went 3 for 5 last night and is probably as dialed-in as any baseball player I've seen on another team this year (Brandon Webb, before his loss the other night, comes to mind). He's hitting .388 and was definitely worthy of the hyperbole being heaped upon him by the Phils announcers last night.

- Michael Bourn is hitting for crap (he struck out 3 times last night to go with his 2 hits, but is only hitting .214, with a tiny .275 OBP), but he stole his 21st base last night. The Phils still haven't replaced his speed on the bench.

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