Inside Pitch: Lefties Begin To Fear Howard

Ryan Howard hit .148 against left-handed pitchers last season, which made his progress against southpaws a focal point this year. So far Howard has been holding his own. Howard's single to right in the bottom of the 10th inning off Washington lefty Mike Stanton scored the winning run Wednesday in the Phillies' 7-6 victory.

Besides his game-winning hit against Stanton, Ryan Howard earlier worked a walk against left-hander Joey Eischen in the eighth inning that helped keep the game-tying rally alive. This season Howard is 3-for-9 with two walks against southpaws.

"That's the specialty guy's job - to get you out by making you chase pitches out of the zone," Howard said. "Everyone wrote me off last year, but it's just a matter of seeing (lefties) and adjusting to them."

"I faced Stanton (Tuesday), so I figured he was going to start me with a slider because he started Chase (Utley) and Bobby (Abreu) with sliders, too. He just left it in the zone."

REPLAY: Ryan Howard's one-out single to right in the bottom of the 10th scored Bobby Abreu from second base as the Phillies rallied from three runs down entering the bottom of the eighth to pick up a 7-6 win over the Nationals.

Abreu's two-run homer in the eighth and David Dellucci's RBI groundout erased a 6-3 deficit. Ryan Franklin picked up his first win as a Phillie with a scoreless top of the 10th, and both Howard and David Bell homered against Washington starter Livan Hernandez.

PHILLY NOTES

  • Pat Burrell is 1-for-16 with two RBI with runners in scoring position this season, but it's tough to decry Burrell's performance too harshly. His six homers lead the team, and he has 11 RBI through 14 games. With a runner on first base - a non-RISP situation - he is 4-for-8 with two homers. "I look at it like this," manager Charlie Manuel said, "if you hit a two-run home run with a runner on first base, it doesn't count as a hit with runners in scoring position, but it's still two runs." Burrell had a strong performance in RISP situations last season, hitting .313 with 13 homers and 92 RBI.
  • David Bell restrained his irritation over being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game. Bell was taken out when Washington RHP Gary Majewski was brought into the game with the bases loaded, even though Bell is 6-for-8 with three doubles and a homer against him lifetime, and had homered earlier in the game. "I'm just glad we got the win," Bell said.
  • Geoff Geary has allowed eight runs in his last three appearances, and his ERA has swelled to 11.37. Manager Charlie Manuel insists he hasn't given up faith in Geary. "I've seen him pitch well," Manuel said. "I'm not scared to give him another chance." Geary has returned to running the ballpark steps prior to batting practice, a practice that he started last season, that he said calms him for the game.
  • Gavin Floyd scuffled in his third start of the season, allowing six runs (five earned) over six innings. He is struggling to find the command of his curve, and he has been under-utilizing his changeup. "I have to get something other than my fastball over," Floyd said. "My curveball was there one time and not there the next. And I threw one changeup, and that went to the backstop."
  • Aaron Fultz inherited a first-and-third, no-out mess from starter Gavin Floyd in the seventh inning Wednesday against Washington. Fultz had Alfonso Soriano steal second against him, then served up a two-run single to Jose Vidro. Phillies relievers have allowed 10 of 18 inherited runners to score this season.


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