Don’t bury Ryan Howard yet
The last time the Dodgers saw Ryan Howard he was clearing the bases at Dodger Stadium against Kenley Jansen, after Dave Roberts decided to intentionally walk weak hitting infielder Freddy Galvis to pitch to Howard. It made sense at the time given that Howard was hitting only .183, but Howard had actually been on a roll that Roberts and his staff ignored.
On June 21st, Ryan Howard had an OPS of .531. That is as bad as you can have and still have a job in the major leagues. Yet, from June 22nd until that fateful at bat Ryan Howard was hitting a robust .291 / .329 /.609. Yes, his slug% was higher during that stretch than his previous OPS. Or in other words, Ryan Howard was hot, and he stayed even hotter delivering a base clearing double against one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. The Dodgers would go on to lose 6 – 2.
Ryan Howard has remained hot, collecting three hits in his next game and driving in five runs. For the season Howard still looks like a miserable hitter but take those cumulative stats with a grain of salt. Ryan Howard is on a hot streak, it might be the last hot streak of his career, but I wouldn’t want to be facing him right now.
- Another hot Philly is Dodger killer, Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz is also near the end of his career but for whatever reason has found some legs in August where he is hitting .417 in limited at-bats.
- The at-bats are limited for Ruiz because the everyday catcher Cameron Rupp is doing his best Yazmani Grandal imitation in August. Rupp has three home runs and sports a .606 slugging% in August.
- The final piece that could play havoc with the Dodgers is Odubel Herrera who has simply had a brilliant year for a rule five player. Herrera had a walk rate of 5% in 2015 his first year as an everyday player. In April of 2016, he increased that to 22%. Of course, that was not sustainable, and it is now down to 10%, but doubling your walk rate from year to year for a speedy leadoff hitter. That will play.
The Phillies look primed to feed on a shaky rotation, the Dodgers better bring their bats to this series.