While helping to boost the Phillies to the NL East title, Howard had 32 RBIs and an .852 slugging percentage in September. His home run, RBI and slugging percentage marks led the NL.
“Ryan’s our carrier,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “When I was in Cleveland, we had more than one carrier. He’s our carrier. He’s the guy who puts up the big numbers. He’s the guy that knocks in the 130 to 160 RBIs. He’s the guy who’s big in the moment.”
Howard hit just .213 in August, but it all came together for him at the plate in September. Before 2008, Howard had been a career .318 hitter in September and October.
“You just go up there with your game plan and, whatever happens after that, happens,” Howard said. “You want to come through when your team needs it and provide a lift.”
Howard was locked in at the plate in September and the breaks went his way, too.
“When the balls are falling in, it’s different,” Howard said. “There are some things you could be doing when you’re in a slump that you’re doing when you’re hitting .400. It’s all about the ball falling in.”
Howard, 28, had nine multi-hit games in September, including consecutive multi-hit games on Sept. 7 against the Mets and Sept. 8-9 against Florida. He also had a multi-homer game on Sept. 3 at Washington, when he hit a pair of two-run shots.
Howard, who was the 2006 NL MVP, finished the regular season with NL-best marks of 48 homers and 146 RBIs. He’s the first Phils player with three consecutive 40-homer seasons.
It’s the third Player of the Month award for Howard, who also was chosen in both August and September 2006.
Others receiving votes included Dodgers teammates Manny Ramirez (.370, 8 HR, 28 RBIs) and Andre Ethier (.462, 8 2B, 18 RBIs) and D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew (.337, 6 HR, 12 RBIs).
Sharp, the presenting sponsor of the NL Player of the Month Award, will present Howard with a 52-inch AQUOS. Sharp AQUOS is the official high-definition television of Major League Baseball. Howard will also receive a specially designed trophy to mark his achievements. (H/T Phillies.com)
And Howard deserved this, hands down. The ‘Big Man’ and his bat came through for the team this month, and how. Now if someone would just find some way to fix his leaky glove, everything will be okay when the playoffs begins Wednesday.
As the Phils (17-13) meet the Giants (13-17) for two more games at Citizens Bank Park. The first game starts tonight at 7:05 pm Eastern, with Brett Myers (2-2, 5.11) on the mound for the Phils. Myers is coming off a lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 27, where he went five innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits in the Phils’ 5-1 lost. He will be looking to regain both the speed on his pitches and his winning ways. His opponent will be Matt Cain (1-2, 4.41), who has a career record of 0-2, 9.69 ERA in three starts against the Phils. Cain last game was a victory against the Colorado Rockies on April 28, where he pitched five and 1/3 innings, giving up no runs on four hits in the Giants’ 4-0 victory. He’ll be looking to notch his first victory against the Phils.
The final game of the series and of the home stand will start at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies will have Cole Hamels (3-3, 2.70) on the mound. He is coming off of a victory against the Padres on April 29, where he’d pitched a strong seven and 1/3 innings, giving up only five hits and two earned runs, along with six strikeouts, in the Phillies’ 7-4 win. He will be looking to better his record tomorrow afternoon. He will be pitching against Tim Lincecum (4-1, 1.73), one of the league’s best pitchers. But Lincecum is coming off his first lost of the year against the Rockies on April 29, where he would go seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits in the Giants 3-2 lost. He will be looking to get back to his winning ways at the Philles expense.
The Phillies will then start a seven games, two cities, road trip, with four games against the Arizona Diamondbacks (May 5-8) and then three against the Giants in San Francisco (May 9-11), before coming back home on May 13 to face the Atlanta Braves.
The Phils have hit 39 home runs in the month of April, a new franchise record.
Chase Utley, who has just been named the National League Player of the Month for April is presently leading the National League in Home Runs (12) and Slugging Percentage (.771) while he is among the league leaders in Runs Scored (27-3rd), Hits (43-T2nd), Doubles (10-T5th) and Batting Ave. (.364-T3rd). Pat Burrell, meanwhile, is second in RBIs (28) and Slugging Percentage (.690) and is tied for second in Home Runs (9), while presently hitting .330.
The Phillies’ bullpen is still second in the league with an ERA of 2.64.
Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies has been named the ‘Sharp Presents the National League Player of the Month’ for April.
The left-handed hitting second baseman hit .360 (40-111) with 10 doubles, a triple, 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and 25 runs scored in April. His 11 home runs, 85 total bases and .766 slugging percentage all paced the National League. The two-time All-Star posted 15 multi-hit games, two multi-home run contests and six multi-RBI performances. Utley homered in five consecutive games from April 17th-21st, tying a Phillies record shared by Bobby Abreu (2005), Mike Schmidt (1979) and Dick Allen (1969). The UCLA product, drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Phillies in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, capped the month with his Major-League leading 11th home run of the year on April 30th vs. San Diego.
Other players receiving votes were Chipper Jones (.417, eight homers, 21 RBIs) of the Braves, Nate McLouth (.339, seven homers, 25 RBIs) of the Pirates, Rafael Furcal (.380, four homers, 15 RBIs) of the Dodgers and Pat Burrell (.330, 9 homers, 28 RBI) of the Phillies.
For setting the highest definition of excellence, Sharp, the presenting sponsor of the National League Player of the Month Award, presents Chase Utley with a 52″ AQUOS®. Sharp AQUOS is the “Official High-Definition Television of Major League Baseball.” Chase will also receive a specially designed trophy to mark his achievement. (H/T Phillies.com)
Why am I thinking that there is definately an MVP Award in his future if he keep going like this? 🙂