Ryan Howard nearly kills two men, smiles

The Phillies' Ryan Howard (third from left) is congratulated by teammates Eric Bruntlett (left) and Greg Dobbs (second from left) after he hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning against the Tigers. (Eric Mencher/Staff Photographer)

In the first inning of today’s 8-2 win over Detroit in Clearwater, Howard hit a foul ball that arrived at the press box in a big hurry. The window in front of Phillies P.R. guys Greg Casterioto and Kevin Gregg was open, and before any of us could react, the ball had sailed between Greg and Kevin and hit the back wall, about 20 feet behind them. When we examined the dent, we discovered that the BALL HAD BEEN HIT HARD ENOUGH TO LEAVE SEAM MARKS IN THE WALL. Can you imagine what Greg or Kevin’s face would have looked like?

And you know what Howard did? He looked up at us and smiled. 
The Phillies saw excellent pitching today from starter Jamie Moyer, who allowed one run in four innings (a solo homer) on a fastball to Scott Sizemore that he left over the plate in the third inning. J.A. Happ responded to Rich Dubee’s declaration that the race for the fifth slot in the rotation had begun by striking out seven in three scoreless innings. Scott Eyre allowed a home run in one inning of work.
John Mayberry Jr. hit another homer to deep, deep left field today, this one bouncing off the roof of the tiki bar. I have a detailed piece on the adjustments Mayberry has made to his stance and swing in tomorrow’s paper. Look, the guy had hundreds and hundreds of minor league strikeouts and a career .330 on-base percentage in four seasons in the Rangers’ minor league system, but he is only 25 and very willing to listen, learn and adjust.  He may be a one-dimensional hitter, but he is trying to be more, which will be interesting to watch.
Marcus Giles played a few innings in left field today, as Charlie Manuel evaluates whether Giles can play a utility role for the team. Manuel said he liked what he saw from Giles in two games at third base this week, and will put him in the outfield more in the near future.
I’d ask you what you’re doing reading a Phillies blog on Saturday night, but then I’d have to ask myself what I’m doing writing one. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead.

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