Howard lifts Phils to victory

 Posted by at 11:56 am
Sep 092010

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard

September 9 Camden Courier-Post:

“It was the conclusion of a grueling span of 24 games in 23 days, including a trip to the West coast, a one-day affair in Colorado and a doubleheader earlier this week. At this point, Ryan Howard said, he doesn’t even know what day of the week it is.

But make no mistake, the Phillies slugger knows exactly what time of year it is.

“Every game it seems like it matters more now than ever,” Howard said. “It’s September, so you’ve got to be geared up and ready to go.”

Howard drove in six runs in 10-6 thumping of Florida to wrap up their longest continuous stretch of games this season and potentially ignite yet another monster finish for the Phillies’ first baseman.

There’s something about September, something about a pennant race, something about those final few weeks when the season is on the line that energizes Ryan Howard.

He’s used the season’s final month to propel his team into the playoffs for three straight years, win one MVP and torment National League pitchers to the tune of a lifetime OPS of 1.109.

This year, however, hasn’t been like the rest. Howard spent the bulk of August on the disabled list, resting an injured ankle. When he returned, his timing was off, his balance was bad and the ankle was still sore.

But it’s still September.

“When you’re playing for something, when you’re playing for a chance to go to the playoffs, it’s a little different feel,” Howard said. “When you’ve got something to play for, you find a way to go out there and try to get it done.”

Howard homered for the second straight game — this time an opposite-field shot off Marlins starter Andrew Miller — and finished with his third career game with at least six RBI.

It was also yet another bit of evidence that the Phillies may have finally awoken from the offensive slumber that has hung over the team like a dark cloud for much of this season.

After mustering just three hits in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader, manager Charlie Manuel lamented the lack of offensive prowess from a lineup filled with proven veterans. He challenged his hitters to start swinging their bats with a bit more authority.”

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