Ryan Howard certainly has felt the heat this year for his average and strikeouts.
Nobody seemed to notice the home runs and RBIs as they tore their hair out. Howard hit a go-ahead solo home run in last night's 4-2 victory over the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park. He has 25 home runs, which is tied with Chase Utley for the major-league lead. He has 80 RBIs, which leads the National League. His 80 RBIs also set a franchise record for most RBIs before the all-star break.
The top five in RBIs before the all-star break in Phillies history:
Howard, 80 in 2008.
Greg Luzinski, 79 in 1975.
Chuck Klein, 74 in 1933.
Luzinski, 71 in 1977.
Howard, 71 in 2006.
Howard was hitting a season-low .163 (20 for 123) with six homers and 16 RBIs on May 7. He has hit .268 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs since. That .268 average has been boosted recently because of his 12-game hitting streak. But Howard is on pace to hit 44 home runs with 140 RBIs. He also is on pace for 218 strikeouts, which would shatter the big-league record he set last season with 199.
Can you live with the strikeouts for 44 homers and 140 RBIs?
J.A. Happ pitched well again last night. He could get one more start for the Phillies. If he pitches well in his third start, it will be interesting to see what the Phillies do with him.
In the Phillies Notebook, Charlie Manuel wouldn't mind adding a bat at this point ... although he knows this team needs starting pitching more than anything.
Jimmy Rollins received the Wanamaker Award yesterday.