Please. Enough is enough. Ryan Howard is killing the Phillies right now. The Phillies are killing him. Can't we get a break from him? Can't he get a break from himself? The Phillies are playing on all cylinders, not willing to concede anything in hopes hey win a surprise Wild Card birth, which is why Phillies manager Charlie Manuel puts Howard into the lineup each and every day. But this is the very reason that Howard needs a break.
In the month of September, Howard is hitting .193. In the last seven days, Howard is hitting .179. He has 12 RBI in September in 17 games, a respectable number. However, there are many missed opportunities that are hurting the team when the team needs to win most. Even as recently as today, Manuel himself recognized that Howard is not fully recovered just yet both mentally and physically, as John Finger reports on CSNPhilly.com:
"I think his back leg is definitely bothering him. He has trouble pushing off with his back leg and everything. But when he feels it and gets stronger and he’s on it, he doesn’t use his legs as much as he does now."
If that's the case, won't a day off do him good?
I know fans are clamoring for a Darin Ruf start, but I would still wait until the Phillies are officially out of contention and when they face a lefthanded starter. The next two starters the Phillies will face are righties Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner. Laynce Nix is hitting .300 in September. He could be worthy of a start and provide professional, major league at bats. The drop off from Howard is non-existent given the circumstances.
I'm not trashing Ryan Howard. I am not going to go on an irrational tirade that his play these few weeks is proof his contract is bad. I just recognize that he is coming off a really tough injury. The best thing for the Phillies and for Ryan Howard is to give him a rest.