Entering his final at-bat Sunday Ryan Howard was a paltry 9 for his last 47 (.191). Add to that he was 0-4 with 3 strike outs on the day and the move to walk Chase Utley to face the big kid made a lot of sense.
But this game doesn’t always bow to logic.
Howard laced a single to right field off of Josh Collmenter to bring home Juan Pierre, and get the monkey off his back in the process. Ryan’s return from injury has been anything but pretty to watch. Life without a productive Ryan Howard is an untenable situation for the Phillies, especially given the size of his contract. He may never be MVP player he used to be, but the Phils need more than a guy who struck out 25 out of his last 53 at bats. But a walk off win goes a long way to putting the team, and more importantly Howard at ease.
The day didn’t get off to a promising start, as Cliff Lee quickly got into trouble in 2nd giving up back-to-back jacks to Chris Johnson and Stephen Drew. Lee doesn’t have to worry about the trade rumors that have been thrown about for the past month now that he has been pulled off wavers. He’d never admit that the possibility of getting traded yet again has affected his pitching, but giving up 3 home runs in a game says otherwise. Lee recovered to give the Phillies 8 innings, which is not an insignificant accomplishment given the state of the bullpen.
The Phightins rallied in eight when Dominic Brown hit a week grounder 70 feet, which pitcher David Hernandez stumbled to field and threw into Brown’s back as he raced to the first base bag. John Mayberry Jr. scored the tying run racing home from second after the ball dribbled away, sliding into home just before Paul Goldshmidt’s throw reached the plate.
Dramatic comebacks like these used to be a staple of the Phillies, but they have been few and far between during this dreary season. Savor the victory Phillies fans, it won’t get much sweeter than this for a while.