Thursday, May 1, 2008

Howard's blast leads Phillies into first place

(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr.)
Maybe May will be a better month for Ryan Howard. With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th, Howard hit a game winning home run to give the Phillies a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres. Howard also had a double earlier in the game that drove in a run. His two hits on the night rose his batting average to a robust .184 and also gives him 20 hits to go with his 40 strikeouts on the season. A 2 to 1 strikeout to hit ratio would be impressive for pitching statistics, but for a hitter that is downright embarrassing. Hopefully tonight was the start of a something better for Howard.

Tonight's win, coupled with a Marlins loss to the Dodgers, moves the Phillies into first place in the NL East. They sit a mere 1/2 game above the Marlins and Mets, but seeing as how it's only May, we should all be impressed that the usually slow starting Phils were able to shake their bad April habits and fight there way to the top of the division. Plus, being in first place without the NL MVP in the line-up is no small feat.

The pitching was the other story of the game. Adam Eaton, who continues to be better than everyone thought, threw 6 innings and gave up 2 runs. That kind of performance will earn him a win every time. The bullpen came in for the final three innings and shut things down just like they have all season. Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Tom Gordon and Brad Lidge didn't allow a hit and struck out four batters to shut down the Padres. Lidge earned his 7th save on the season and continues to sport a triple-zero ERA.

The surprisingly-not-that-terrible San Francisco Giants come to Philly tomorrow to start a three game weekend series with the Phillies. The Giants look like an awful team on paper, but they have gotten some good pitching from their youthful rotation. They have removed Barry Zito and his 7.53 ERA from the rotation so the Phils won't be able to tee off on him, but they should have no problem winning 2 of 3 from this team regardless.

Highlights of the win, including Ryan Howard's blast, via Comcast SportsNet:

No comments: