Is it too early to say the Ryan Howard of last season has returned? He is five games removed from the disabled list and already he is putting up better numbers that the start of the season. Since returning to the lineup on Friday, Howard has gone 6-18, with 7 RBIs, 3 HRs, and 5 strikeouts. Although it’s definitely a good sign to see Ryno accumulate more hits than strikeouts over a given period, it probably is too soon to say he has fully recovered. Last night after he landed awkwardly on his injured leg, he was forced to leave the game with what he claims was only a cramp. The Phillies slugger explained, "My hamstring cramped up when I tried to get up and make the play. That’s why I couldn’t make an accurate throw. A good play gone bad. My leg is fine." Let’s hope so, Ryan, because if the Phillies are going to make a push for the playoffs, now is the time.
After sweeping the Braves over the weekend and crawling above .500, the Phils looked to have some momentum as the D’backs slithered into town. Freddy Garcia – bucking earlier trends – pitched a solid eight innings in the opening game of the series but the Phillies were unable to hold on and lost 5-4 on Memorial Day. Last night’s blowout saw two 5-run innings allowed on the heels of 3 errors as the Phils dropped back down to .500 – their favorite number as of late. June is not going to get any easier for our hometown nine, with the Giants, Mets, Royals (whew!), White Sox, and Tigers all on the schedule in the first half of the month.
Hopefully the Phillies will be able to make a statement against the Giants this weekend and try to reclaim some of that momentum from earlier in the week. As mentioned before, Phillies Nation will be there on Saturday supporting the Phils – first with an awesome tailgate party, then with some good old-fashioned rowdiness during the game. Please join us for the big event, which is co-sponsored by PhillyTailgate.com and will feature booze, bbq, beverages, and a band! There will also be plenty of Phillies giveaways, including some of those hot Howard-Utley shirts. Tickets to the tailgate can be purchased here if you already have a ticket to the game ($20) or here if you still need both tickets ($42). It’s gonna be a big day inside the park too: Bonds is in town, Howard is back, Hamels is pitching, and Greg Dobbs continues to impress. See you Saturday. Go Phils!