For the first time since 2010, the Phillies visit Yankees Stadium for a three-game series against the Yankees, who currently sit one game behind Tampa Bay in the AL East.
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When the Phils last visited the Bronx, they were able to win 2 out of 3 after dropping the first game of the series. If they wish to repeat the success they had back in 2010, then Ryan Howard will need to continue to rack up RBI.
In his last four games, Howard has hit only .267, but he has been able to drive in runs. In those four games, the Phillies’ first baseman has six RBI, two home runs, and a .979 OPS.
Howard has struggled at the plate in June after finishing May with a .280 average, six home runs, 15 RBIs, and a .861 OPS. Through 18 games in June, Howard has a meager .200 batting average with three homers and nine RBIs. Before the Cardinals series, He had only two home runs and five RBIs.
His low average can be attributed to some bad luck. Howard has a .238 batting average on balls in play, after a .349 BABIP mark in May. We all know how much impact the shift which opposing defenses employ against Howard has on his results. But in yesterday’s 9-2 win against the Cardinals, Howard finally found a hole with an RBI single to the left-side of the infield.
A bit more of that, and opposing teams will have to think twice about the shift when the “Big Piece” comes to the plate.
If the Phillies hope to have success against the Yanks, Howard will need to find ways to drive runners in. The small confines of Yankees stadium, which make Citizens Bank Park look pitcher-friendly, should be a welcome sight for a Phillies team that ranks 29th in MLB with only 42 long balls.