Game 99: Howard sits

Ryan Howard has arguably been the Phillies' non-pitching MVP so far this season. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

What do Michael Morse, Todd Helton, Freddie Freeman, Gaby Sanchez, Daniel Murphy and Carlos Pena have in common? Well, they all have higher OPSes than Ryan Howard.

And Howard finally finds himself out of Charlie Manuel's lineup Saturday against San Diego. It's just the second time this season Howard is not starting.

Since the all-star break, Howard is 2 for 28 with no extra-base hits. His season OPS is down to .789 and his batting average is a paltry .245. Howard's OPS in 2009 was .931. It's 142 points lower this season.

The fact that Mat Latos is on the mound probably has to do with the decision too. Howard has faced Latos nine times. Eight of those times he struck out. Once, he walked.

John Mayberry Jr. starts at first base in Howard's absence.

The lineup:

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Michael Martinez 5
3. Shane Victorino 8
4. Chase Utley 4
5. Raul Ibanez 7
6. Domonic Brown 9
7. Brian Schneider 2
8. John Mayberry Jr. 3
9. Kyle Kendrick 1

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