The Phillies couldn't solve Derek Lowe, and the Dodgers eventually caught up with J.D. Durbin, but last night’s top story finds fan rapport with reigning MVP Ryan Howard becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
Readers identified last night’s loss as something of a familiar marker in Philadelphia, when expectations, impatience and an underperforming star collide in prickly fashion. Boos rained down hard on Howard in the bottom of the sixth inning, two outs, when he grounded out to second with runners at first and third, en route to an 0-for-3 night at the plate.
The slugger is mired in one of the worst slumps of his career at a time when the lineup can least afford it. He’s demonstrated almost no patience these last few weeks, chasing outside and off-speed slop instead of digging in and keeping pitchers honest.
Getting Chase Utley back will help take the pressure off No. 6, who wasn’t the only player who struggled. Lowe, who earned his 10th win, collected 15 groundouts; the Phils managed just six hits on the night. Pitching-wise, Durbin matched Lowe groundout-for-groundout until Jeff Kent opened the wound with a sixth-inning double, leading to a three-run frame. Jose Mesa and Clay Condrey imploded for 10 earned runs through the final third. By then, the game was well in Dodger hands.