Phillies: What to expect from Spencer Howard in MLB debut
By Hunter Doyle
What should we expect from Howard in his Phillies debut on Sunday?
Since Howard will be pitching in a seven-inning game thanks to the new doubleheader rule, there’s a chance he could pitch deep into the game, but the Phillies probably won’t want to push him too far in his first outing. Expect Howard to throw anywhere from three to six innings, depending on how well he manages his pitch count. He’s only given up more than four earned runs in four of his 47 career starts in the minor leagues, so he’s going to give the Phillies a chance to win almost every single time he’s out on the mound.
The righty should get a decent amount of strikeouts against an Atlanta Braves lineup that is mostly made up of right-handed hitters. Howard should be able to get them to bite on the slider away and the changeup dipping below the zone. Entering the weekend series, the Braves led the league in strikeouts with 152, so it’s a perfect matchup for the young prospect.
While we shouldn’t put too much pressure on Howard to have an amazing debut, it’s hard to see him not having a strong outing with the velocity and break he gets on his pitches. He also knows when to use each of his pitches. Some guys might have great “stuff” but they often get into trouble because they become predictable and the ball jumps off the bat. We’ve seen that for multiple seasons with Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta.
Phillies fans are going to have a hard time getting to sleep tonight with all of the excitement surrounding Howard’s debut.
The time has finally come. Spencer Howard is here and the future is bright.