Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ryan Howard and Joe Blanton

Ryan Howard is off to a torrid start.  While he was well under .200 this time last year, he's hitting close to .300 now, and has really been swinging the bat well.  When he's really on top of things, he hits the ball to center and even left center, and he's been stroking the ball to center.  His grand slam last week was to dead center field, which really bodes well.  While he's only hit 5 homers so far this season, they've been timely.  He's putting up MVP-caliber numbers again this season, and I would love to see him make the All Star game this year, as it's in his home town of St. Louis.

Last night, he smoked another grand slam, leading the Phightin's to a 6-1 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis.  That was his 7th career grand slam, tying him with Mike Schmidt for the franchise's career record.  Never mind that it took Schmidt 17 years to hit his 7 slams; Howard has hit his 7 in just 3.5 major league seasons.  Howard is 20 pounds lighter, his defense is greatly improved, and he's swinging the bat really well.  Imagine how well the Phightin's might have done last year if Howard had been swinging the bat like this during the first half of the season.

Joe Blanton finally put together a good outing last night.  He pitched 6 solid innings, including pitching out of a couple of jams, finally posting his first win of the season.  His ERA came down by a couple of runs, and he looked like the dominating starter that he was during spring training and during the postseason last year.  Hopefully, he's now back on track.  It can only bode well for the Phillies if he's back on track.

No comments:

Post a Comment