Baseballistic
All Things Baseball

50…51…52 for Ryan Howard!

He entered the first game of today’s doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves as the MLB leader in Homeruns (49) and RBIs (129).  He was also on a 12-game hitting streak whacking everything in sight.  Who is he?

HE is Ryan Howard

And today, Ryan Howard is having perhaps his best game of his young career.  With the Phillies right in the thick of a tight NL Wildcard race with the Padres and Reds, the sophomore slugger is playing Homerun Derby. 

His first at-bat in today’s game against the Braves came in the 2nd inning, with nobody on and nobody out.  Ryan Howard took the first pitch he saw from Tim Hudson, and smashed it well over the 398 mark in centerfield, for his 50th homerun this season.  In his second at bat, Ryan Howard came up with Shane Victorino on 1st base, and two outs in the inning.  The 4th pitch he saw in that at-bat (2-1 count) wound up even farther past the 398 mark, in almost straight-away centerfield, for #51 on the season.  And he came up again in the 6th inning, once again against Tim Hudson, with nobody on and nobody out.  With the count at 1-2 — you guessed it — Ryan Howard hit a deep shot to leftfield, over the wall which is about 340 feet from homeplate, for his 52nd blast of the year. 

Three at-bats, three homeruns, four RBIs; that’s a pretty good way to start a game.  Ryan Howard should have at least 5 more at-bats left today; one more in the first game of the doubleheader (Bottom of the 7th with Howard due up 3rd), and four in the second game, provided he plays.  That means five or more chances to blast another ball out of the park.  Can Ryan Howard make history by hitting the most homeruns ever in a single day? 

The “NL’s Big Papi” is the description some fans give of Ryan Howard, comparing him to Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.  And that description is very much accurate, because Ryan Howard has spectacular, Papi-style power, and a knack for coming through in clutch situations.  He is my choice for National League MVP. 

_______________________________________________

And here’s a new feature on Baseballistic.  At the end of each article, I’ll post an MLB trivia question.  You can answer it by leaving a comment and win the pride of having some great baseball knowledge. 

Here’s today’s MLB trivia question:

Ryan Howard’s 50th homerun put him in some elite company with the youngest players to reach that plateau in a single season. 

 Who was the youngest player to hit 50HR in a season?

The answer will be at the end of my next post.

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