There are three players in all of baseball who have more plate appearances without an extra-base hit than Ryan Howard. They are Aaron Hicks (32 PA), Ben Revere (32 PA) and Juan Pierre (31 PA). None are exactly known for their power like Howard is.
Howard has batted 30 times in 2013 without an extra-base hit. His slash line is .148/.200/.148. He has struck out in one-third of his plate appearances (10 times).
Maybe Mets righty Dillon Gee is the pitcher Howard needs to see. In a small sample size, Howard is 2 for 7 against Gee. Those two hits are both home runs.
Howard is routinely behind in the count. Six of his 30 plate appearances have started 0-2. Nineteen of 30 have gone to two strikes.
"He can definitely be more patient at the plate," Charlie Manuel said. "I think Ryan feels like when someone’s in scoring position that he has to knock him in. The only thing Ryan has to do is be relaxed and get good balls to hit. When he swings at strikes, he becomes a much better hitter. If he does that, you’ll see him hit better."
So what changed from a torrid spring training to now?
"He's seeing different pitching," Manuel said. "He's seeing better pitching than in spring training. A lot better."
The full lineup:
1. Ben Revere 8
2. Jimmy Rollins 6
3. Chase Utley 4
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Michael Young 5
6. Domonic Brown 7
7. John Mayberry Jr. 9
8. Erik Kratz 2
9. Cliff Lee 1
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.