Phillies Sweep the Mets Behind Ryan Howard and CHOOOOOOOCH
Apr 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pinch hitter Ryan Howard (6) hits a pinch-hit two-run double against New York Mets relief pitcher Scott Atchison (not pictured) during the seventh inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time this year, the Phillies swept an opponent, beating the Mets 5-1 at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon, completing the three-game brooming of New York.
And for the first time this year, Ryan Howard produced in the way a team’s clean-up hitter and best power hitter is supposed to.
These two things are not a coincidence.
Sure, the Phils could not have taken three straight from a spunky Mets ballclub without superior starting pitching. And in two of the three games this weekend, Kyle Kendrick on Friday night and Cole Hamels on Sunday, the Phils got ace performances from two of their starters. And Jonathan Pettibone’s start on Saturday wasn’t too bad either.
But make no mistake, it was the offense, and Ryan Howard specifically, that made the difference this weekend in New York.
The big blow on Sunday was Howards’ two-out, two-run, pinch-hit double that put the Phillies up 3-1 in the seventh inning. It was his 6th and 7th RBIs of the series, and continued Howard’s impressive resume as a pinch hitter. For his career, Ryan is 16 for 38 as a pinch-hitter, with five doubles, six homers and 15 RBIs.
"“Even though you don’t start the game, you remain mentally in the game,” he said. “You do things to keep yourself loose and in the flow of the game because you know there will eventually be a situation where you’ll come up and hit. And it’s usually a situation where you can turn the tide of the game. I’m just trying to stay ready for that moment.” – quote per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury"
Howard also hit a crucial homer on Friday night and tallied two more RBIs in Saturday’s win.
More importantly, Howard began to hit some balls in the air with power, showing good balance at the plate.
Howard gets a lot of crap, much of it deserved, and much of it from me. But there is no player in baseball I would like to see do better. Howard is great with fans, works his tail off, and takes his craft seriously. Phils fans are hungrily desperate for Howard to perform the way he did in this three-game series against the Mets, and frankly, the Phillies cannot win anything without their lone power hitter providing that power.
Sunday’s game also featured the return of Carlos Ruiz, who served 25 games for illegally using Aderall. Chooch went 1 for 4 with a double, and helped Hamels win his first game of the year, despite Cole’s six walks in six innings pitched. Ruiz managed to coax eight strikeouts out of Hamels on Sunday, while the offense finally came through for the ace left-hander, having left him high and dry during his first four starts.
So, the Phillies enter Monday’s off-day at 12-14, on a real roll for the first time in 2013. The Phillies begin a two game interleague series against the Indians in Cleveland on Tuesday.
When It All Went Right
Howard’s two-run double. The play of the game. Simple as that (see below).
Ryan Howard, who came off the bench and just missed a three-run homer, instead settling for a two-run double that broke a 1-1- tie in the 7th. Man, was it good to see Howard do his thing in New York this weekend. For three games at least, he looked like the old Ryan.
Jonathan Niese, who held the Phils’ offense at bay for the first 6 2/3 innings, before finally collapsing with two outs in the seventh.