With a towel wrapped around his waist, another covering both sides of his head and sandals sloshing against the carpet, Ryan Howard seemed comfortable as he entered the Phillies clubhouse after Saturday’s 11-3 rout of Washington.
The same can be said for the way Howard felt at the plate as he recorded his fifth four-RBI game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a home run and his Major League-leading 95th RBI of the season. His 26 home runs are two behind league leader Lance Berkman.
In the first inning, Howard put the Phillies on the board as he took Nationals starter John Lannan deep to left field for a two-run home run. It was just his second home run of the season off a lefthanded pitcher. Howard later singled in a run in the third inning and knocked in another on a ground out in the sixth.
“I feel alright,” Howard said. “Just trying to keep it going. August and September, just trying to finish up strong.”
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that the combination of Howard being more patient at the plate and the acquisition of outfielder Hunter Pence behind him have allowed the first baseman to see better pitches. He doesn’t read much into the idea that Howard’s altered batting stance is the catalyst for the results.
In 11 games in August, Howard has 14 RBI and five homers and a .289 average. He’s five RBI shy of his sixth straight 100-RBI season.
“As long as he’s hitting, his stance is good, I guess,” Manuel said.
Contact staff writer Matt Breen at email@example.com or @matt_breen on Twitter.
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.
Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.