Ryan Howard cranked home runs No. 55 and 56 to drive in all three Phillies runs in last night’s 3-2 defeat of Florida.
Howard’s historic run is putting the pressure on writers to come up with something remarkable to write about after every game. After last night, he joined Jimmie Foxx in 1932 and Babe Ruth in 1921 as the only players in history to hit at least 56 home runs in a season at age 26 or younger.
This is a campaign few others have matched, numbering perhaps five or six of the greatest single offensive seasons in the history of the game, none of which are attached to the name Barry Bonds. He’s projected to finish with 65 homers and 159 RBIs, all while hitting .311.
Howard is locked in, creating magic that’s scarcely been seen. Last night’s second home run would have translated to a hump-back lineout to right field for any other hitter. Instead, the ball exploded off Howard’s bat, negated physics and landed in the right-field porch. This was served up on an inside, low-90s fastball from left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen. Howard’s reaction was instantaneous. This was a pitch he was never supposed to hit.
In 16 games since Aug. 23, Howard is batting .464 (26-for-56) with 13 homers, 26 RBIs, 20 runs scored, a .569 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of 1.214. The Phillies are literally riding his bat into October. They have now won 16 of their last 25 games and crawled back to within 1 1/2 games of San Diego.
Howard's heroic quest trumps mere standings in depth and national scale. He deserves his own press following comprised of the nation's best writers and columnists. Round up the gang from the glory days of BalcoGate and Barry's run at the Babe. This assignment is better for the soul.
Moyer and Conine
Jamie Moyer and Jeff Conine may turn into feather in the cap of Pat Gillick this season. Moyer baffled the Marlins over eight outstanding innings last night, while Jeff Conine went 2-for-4 out of the No. 5 hole. Conine went deep in Thursday’s game.