Talking points via the Beerleaguer inbox.
(From a reader e-mail): Is Howard untouchable in the sense that you can't substitute for him? He's not hitting. His fielding is a liability in close games. In the playoffs you play against good teams, and you are well scouted. The Dodgers and Brewers just keep on throwing low-away junk all day and Howard refuses to try to go the other way, pulling everything he manages to hit right toward the 2nd baseman. There is at this point NO expectation of success when he comes up, meaning I no longer look forward to Howard batting in a critical situation. Nobody is going to give him the fastball to hit. Look how many times he half-swings, and holds up ... he's either fooled or impatient.