September 11 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Ray Parrillo:
“Ryan Howard either can’t explain it or would prefer not to even try. After all, superstition is in just about every baseball player’s DNA, so why invite a jinx?
But for whatever reason – sharper focus, pennant-race adrenaline – September has been Howard’s most productive month since he took root as the Phillies’ full-time cleanup hitter in 2006.
He’s at it again.
Howard hit an impressive bases-empty home run to tie Friday’s game against the Mets at Citi Field, 3-3. It was his fifth homer in 10 games this month and third in three games. It was impressive because it was a low line drive that threatened to wipe out the first couple rows just beyond the left-field wall of the spacious ballpark.
Few hitters have such opposite field power. Howard’s homer was as effective as it was impressive. It seemed to leave Mets righthander Jenrry Mejia, who made his second big-league start, somewhat shaken.
The Phillies strung together five singles for three more runs following Howard’s 29th homer, which gave Roy Halladay breathing room to settle down for win No. 18 after a difficult third inning.
Howard flexed his muscles again in the seventh inning of the 8-4 win when he doubled off the base of the center-field fence, 408 feet away.Since the calendar flipped to September, Howard is batting .333 (13 for 39) with 11 RBIs and four doubles to go with those five homers. He has seven hits and eight RBIs the last three games.”
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