Happ-Y Howard Hits Hard

…Now say that five times fast ;O)  JA Happ and Ryan Howard combined for a 1-2 punch last night that sent the Braves away with a 6-game deficit in the NL East as the Phillies took home the 4-1 win.  Early on, it looked like rain might put a damper on the evening, but after a 1 hour and 37 minute delay, the game finally got underway.

Happ collected his 9th win of the season as he pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed just 3 hits and 1 solo home run.  His command was off and on all game and he did wind up walking 6 batters, but got outs when he needed to.  Never rattled by tight situations, Happ continues to be a consistent starter that the Phillies can count on.

Add to that consistency a little Howard power and the result is a win.  Howard has struggled in the second half, but these last few days, he looks like he is hitting balls into another solar system.  Howard hitting.jpgHoward has 4 home runs in his last 4 games, with 2 of them rocketing out of the park last night for the 20th multi-home run game of his career.  In fact, Howard did everything last night to win the game, except steal a base.  His defense was stellar and he turned two very impressive double plays; at the plate, he notched the two home runs plus a single and a walk.  All four Phillies runs in the game were credited to Howard.

In relief, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre combined to record 3 of the last four outs in the game.  Eyre almost had his first save since 2005, but after he walked a batter, Charlie Manuel decided to go to Brad Lidge, perhaps thinking that a one out save might boost his confidence.  Lidge did record the save on three pitches, but after a horrible season so far, most still have their doubts about Lidge.  It would seem to be time for the Phillies to find a back-up plan, but Manuel still insists Brad is his man.  However, the Phillies cannot expect to thrive in the post-season while carrying the worst closer in all of major league baseball; his 8 blown saves and 7.21 ERA are officially the bottom of the barrel for all closers.

Today the Phillies will have a much needed day of rest and I will need to find something else besides baseball to occupy my evening.  Suggestions are welcome :O)

And then Tuesday night, Philadelphia will get their first look up close and in person with Pedro Martinez.  After a road win against the Cubs last week, the home crowd is anxious to see his progress.  Game time is 7:05pm against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Go Phillies!

Howard photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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