Hanging On

20 Sep

He had been hitless in his previous 18 at-bats against all left-handers and 0-19 against lefty relievers.

He has struck out 38 times in 80 at-bats against lefties overall.

He was hitting .172 with 18 strikeouts and no home runs in 18 games this month.

He was 0-3 last night with a weak groundout and two strikeouts.

So what was he thinking when he strode to the plate in the ninth inning, his team trailing 2-1?

“I blacked out, I guess,” he said. “Maybe I need to black out more often.”

Maybe so, because with his team down to their final out, in a game where a loss  would end their slim postseason hopes, Ryan Howard did something he hasn’t done the entire month of September.

He crushed a fastball from Mets left-handed reliever Josh Edgin into the upper deck for a two-out, two-run home run leading his team to an improbable 3-2 victory, keeping their postseason hopes alive for one more day.

Yeah, it was nice to see the Phillies win a game like that.

And yes, I guess it still keeps their wild card hopes barely alive.

But most of all, in an injury- shortened season where not much has gone right for the Phillies slugger, it was a great sight  to see Ryan Howard pump his fist in the air as he rounded first, knowing he had come through for his team.

“It meant something for us, and it meant something for him,” manager Charlie Manuel said.  “He needed that.”

Thanks for the analysis, Skip.  And I, for one, am glad he got it.

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