The Philadelphia Phillies have played their fair share of extra inning games in 2014. Last night’s 2-1 win over the Houston Astros was the 15th time that they couldn’t settle the matter in regulation.
Far less common have been games in which Ryan Howard was the hero.
When the Phillies lineup was announced, most people weren’t exactly happy that Howard was not only in the lineup against a lefty starter, but batting cleanup.
Other than nostalgia, why is Ryan Howard batting cleanup? #philliestalk
— Songbird Rescue Cat (@makarov__) August 6, 2014
Naturally he homered in his first at bat.
Don’t worry; this game didn’t go too far into Twilight Zone territory. After the homer, Howard grounded into the shift three times, including two double plays, and then struck out.
In his sixth at bat of the game, with runners at the corners, Howard came through with a single. The hit scored Grady Sizemore, and sent the few fans dedicated(?) enough to stay for the whole affair home happy.
In addition to Howard’s heroics, Tuesday’s game included the sighting of another rare specimen: A strong start by Kyle Kendrick.
There was a time when good starts by Kendrick weren’t all that rare, and you could count on seeing one every week or so. But recently, not so much. It’s gotten to the point when you have to think hard to recall the last time you actually saw one.
For the record, the last start that most people would consider to be good came on July 3rd when he gave up two runs in seven innings.
Kendrick went seven innings, and only allowed one run. After he departed, a group of seven relievers combined to shut the Astros out for eight innings. The win was earned by Hector Neris who was making his major league debut.
Unfortunately, the pitchers’ work was almost wasted since the Phillies were having just as much trouble scoring against the Astros. After Howard’s homer in the second, the Phillies went thirteen straight scoreless innings.