Well lookie here. Ryan Howard homers twice and triples to pull into a three-way tie for the league lead in RBIs, while Cole Hamels throws seven-strong, as the Phillies defeat Boston handily by the count of 8-2.
This time, it could be for real, the run we’ve been waiting for all season from Ryan Howard. Since the beginning of the St. Louis series, he’s maintained some semblance of consistency. He’s staying back and driving the ball the opposite way. His average is up to .224, the highest it’s ranged since April 5.
Unlike Sunday, the Phils took care of biznatch neatly. “Everybody tried to bring their ‘A' game because they are the defending World Series champions,” Howard told reporters. “I think everybody gets up for playing a team like that.”
The pitching matchup also favored the Phils. I suspected their lineup would handle Bartolo Colon, and they did; Colon left after four innings with a stiff back. Later on, the Phils teed off on cooked reliever Mike Timlin, who’s pitching well enough to earn an outright release. From the Boston Globe: “By the time the Phillies broke it open with four runs off an overmatched Mike Timlin in the sixth, the Phillie Phanatic already had captured the essence of the evening in his typical stick-out-your-tongue style, taking a sledgehammer to a Sox helmet right in front of the Boston dugout.”
Meanwhile, Hamels (7-4, 3.23), who’s having a solid season despite having to perform the cruel, antiquated task of running the bases, gave the short-handed Sox a dose of National League medicine. “Their pitcher was very good,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Hamels. “Not a guy you want to fall behind.”
Breaking news: The Mets have fired manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto, the team announced shortly after 3 a.m. Bench coach Jerry Manuel has been named the team’s interim manager, while Ken Oberkfell, Dan Warthen and former Phillie Luis Aguayo will join the staff.
Beerleaguer: It was inevitable after the collapse of 2007 and sluggish start to this season. Once they started talking about it in New York, it was all over for Randolph. The players had grown tired of discussing it and it was time to move forward. I'm not sure Omar Minaya put the best team on the field to start with, and they've had injury problems. It needed to be done, however, because stars like Carlos Beltran aren't playing to the best of their ability.