All fans going out to Citizen’s Bank Park Tuesday will receive a Ryan Howard bobblehead as the Philadelphia Phillies look to take the series against the Seattle Mariners.
About a month ago, Howard was playing some of the worst baseball of his career and he was said to have been shopped by the Phillies. If they had succeeded in moving him it might have made Tuesday’s bobblehead night a bit awkward and they may have regretted it seeing as Howard has shown flashes of being the player he once was.
While his .165 batting average in July forced manager Ryne Sandberg to throw around the word “platoon” at first base, his .213 average in August is not quite the Howard of old but it’s an improvement. The 2005 National League Rookie of the Year had only 14 hits in 85 at bats in July, in August he has 13 hits already. It’s hardly a display of what Howard once brought to the Phillies lineup, but he’s had some walk-off heroics this month and his job is safe.
Securing a win on Howard’s bobblehead night may largely depend on starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. The veteran is winless in his last six starts, taking the loss in five of them. In that span he’s walked 15 batters and he leads the National League with 72 walks.
Burnett was also in trade talks last month, but the Phillies failed to move the 15-year veteran. He’s faced Seattle just nine times in his career, the last time in 2013 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 2.72) will start for Seattle. He’s won his last two starts.