• March 24, 2023

The Greatest Pitching Staff Ever Isn’t At Fault, The Problem Is Ryan Howard

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is the reason that the best pitcher in baseball, Roy Halladay gave up that three-run home run to Lance Berkman in the first inning of game one of the NLDS at Citizen’s Bank Park, before we could even get settled in our seats. I think it was Howard, who signaled Berkman that Halladay was going to throw a fastball right down the middle.

I blame that home run solely on Howard because there’s no way the best pitcher in baseball would groove a fast ball right down the middle and put the team in a 3-0 hole. According to many, Halladay’s performance was just as good of a big game performance as all-time greats like Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Kurt Schilling and Randy Johnson, if you ignore the three-run home run.

Can you ignore a three-run home run? I guess we can if we want to. Who cares that he gave up that three-run home run in his biggest start of the year to this point?

I know Howard hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth of that game but that wasn’t a big deal. I know it seemed like it turned that game around, but he doesn’t deserve credit for that. We don’t need to make a big deal about that.

I know Howard singled home two runs in the first inning of the second game. I know all the inept Phillies hitters gave Lee a 4-0 lead. But that’s not a big deal, because It was Howard who was signaling the Cardinals hitters on what pitches the great Cliff Lee was throwing.

That’s the only way they could bang out 12 hits on the Great Lee. I have heard that umpire alibi for Lee and it sounds legitimate because that’s the only way he give up all those runs in such a big game. The guy was squeezing the strike zone on him, but not the Cardinals pitchers.

Yes, it is true that the series would be over if Lee had pitched a decent game in his biggest start of the season, but let’s blame everything on Howard. We can’t blame it on the greatest pitching rotation in the history of Major League Baseball.

Seriously, the one Phillies starter, who went out and got the job done from the start was Cole Hamels, who pitched six shutout innings for the Phillies in game three. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled the Cardinals. It’s ironic that his heart is the first one questioned by the fans, yet he showed tremendous heart in the performance.

The number four starter for the greatest starting staff in MLB history, Roy Oswalt gave up five runs in five innings, but he shouldn’t face any criticism because we should blame everything on Ryan Howard. Is giving up five runs in five innings a good pitching performance?

Four starts and no pitching gems for the Greatest Starting Pitching rotation in MLB history isn’t what anyone expected from this group, yet let’s blame everything on Ryan Howard.

Seriously, I know Howard has done a poor job in the last couple of games of hitting and he needs to start competing much better at the plate. He’s got to hang in there on those curveballs and be ready to drive those outside pitches to leftfield.

Some of his at-bats have been pathetic, but that doesn’t mean he should be blamed for everything. I’m just amazed at how he could be singled out as being the sole reason that the Phillies haven’t won this series, despite this starting pitching staff coming up so small.

He put them in position to win games one and two, if the Greatest Starting Pitching Staff in MLB history had showed up. Still he need to show up for the remainder of the playoffs.

Let’s be honest, there’s a list of people who haven’t performed up to the level which they should have and that list should start with the Greatest Starting Pitching rotation in MLB history. Howard should be on the list as well and he should step up his game, but the fact that this pitching staff which is supposed to be one of the greatest of all-time wouldn’t be called out first, says something.


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October 7, 2011 10:55 am

Man G, I saw this headline and I was coming in looking for a fight… Until I started reading. Man you know it is Ryan Howard’s fault, he’s the easiest target, he’s the “Big Ticket”. Roy spotted the Card’s 3 runs. Lee gave up 5 runs and Oswalt, well… Oswalt??? But, it’s Ryans fault, he gets paid to hit. There’s an underlying issue here…

October 7, 2011 11:59 am

And that issue is racism! At least admit it, G. Dance around like stinkin’ Deion Sanders all you want. “Prime Time, Prime Time! You know they gettin’ on Prime Time because of where he came from.” Bawlderdash,G! There’s that resevoir of historical maltreatment being tapped into once again by you. You’re fight is with the media. So go get in their faces again.
It is on the whole team. Frankly the pitchers for the Cardinals have been more impressive for rising above their station than the Phillies’ pitchers.
By comparison, Big Red AND Juan Castillo are taking great hits from the media. But what about the RB’s coach, the WR’s coach, the LB’s coach. They’re being protected by the racist media? How much is Howard making? You need to keep it more real than you may have realized, G!

October 7, 2011 12:12 pm

My biggest issue with Ryan is that he has way too many bad a bats too often and many times in critical situations… Every Power Hitter stirkes out a lot which is the Risk/Benefit of having HR hitters in your line-up..But go up to the plate with a game plan and make adjustments on how teams and Pitchers are Pitching to you nad then make adjustments, this is what all good big-league hitters do on a constant basis.. Howard just rarely gives the impression that he’s prepared or studies Pitchers Tendancies enough or makes adjustments as a hitter and instead, simply relies on his power and strength to hit the ball.. He’s always peplexed me that he often acts surprised at many pitches and lets too many good one’s go buy and knowing that teams and pitchers are not going to give him many good pitches to hit at all, he needs to be better prepared early in the counts.

October 7, 2011 12:34 pm

Paulman’s Odds on Top Hero’s and Goats for Tonights 5th and deciding Game on the NL Divisional Series versus the Cardinals

Hero’s Odds
Halladay 2.5 to 1
Rollins 4 to 1
Utley 4 to 1
Pence 5 to 1
Howard 12 to 1
Victorino 6 to 1
Ruiz 8 to 1
Polanco 10 to 1
Mayberry 12 to 1
Francisco 14 to 1
Gload 20 to 1
Madson 7 to 1
Bastardo 8 to 1
Cliff Lee 6 to 1

Goats Odd’s
Howard 1 to 1
Madson 3 to 1
Bastardo 4 to 1
Halladay 5 to 1
Rollins 6 to 1

October 7, 2011 1:44 pm

Stop with the poor Ryan Howard crap already. Noone is saying he’s the whole problem and quite frankly, if they win tonite, noone will care. The team as a whole has not played championship baseball (Poor efforts from Lee and Oswalt, Victorino’s fielding and hitting woes, a broken-down Matt Holiday scoring from 1st base on a ball hit to LEFT field, Utley’s desparation baserunning blunder). In times of uncertainty, fans will logically look to find the reason a team (they love) is underperforming and often times the symbol they choose to focus on are the ones making 125M, or the stars of the team. Right wrong or indifferent, it comes with being a superstar. As far as Howard goes, he’s been lost since game 1, where he appeared to have a gameplan going in. He has to remember, your allowed to take a walk in baseball. All pitchers do is throw him off-speed slop and let his over-agressiveness get himself out. He’s still a graet player, but they are his warts you have to accept going forward. He’s not gonna change, post season or otherwise.

October 7, 2011 1:57 pm

Then he is a not Great player for what distinquishes the Great Players from the merely Good ones is the ability to improve, to adapt to what other teams and players try to take away from your game.. His reliance on sheer strength and power is only short changing himself and his teammates and will never reach his full potential which really is unlimited when you think about and this is what pisses me off about him.. …

October 7, 2011 2:12 pm

I don’t care if this article was filled with fake sarcasm or not.

Ryan Howard IS at fault. 25 million dollars for what? He’s a disgrace. A hobbled Albert Pujols has done more for his team than a healthy Ryan Howard and its pathetic.

October 7, 2011 2:14 pm

And what exactly does it say? Is this another one of your race-baiting articles?

Howard is the face of the Phillies offense and he’s been pathetic. 10 three strike out games in his post season career. SMFH. Lets trade him and sign Prince Fielder in the offseason.

October 7, 2011 2:17 pm

And what makes me even angrier with Howard is the fact that he had a GREAT game 1…..and it had me believing that he was going to go on a tear this postseason…..I have been dissapointed by our Big Bazooka Bat. VERY dissapointed. When the whole bar sees Howard coming up to bat and someone yells out “Here comes an easy strikeout” — its embarrassing. They shouldn’t be saying that about our CLEAN-UP hitter!! I want ppl to feel like they feel when Albert Pujols or Jose Bautista or Prince Fielder come up to bat. I want them to mutter under their breath “Oh sh**” when they see him in the on deck circle.

Nobody does that.

They sit there, drink their beer, and laugh at his pathetic swings at balls five feet out of the strike zone.

October 7, 2011 3:02 pm

Am I in the twilight zone? The Phillies are the best team in baseball, have an ace and a shot to win a series tonight. And the words ‘fault’ and ‘problem’ are being thrown around?

What in the world is wrong with you people?

October 7, 2011 3:16 pm

Cardinals are the hottest team in MLB since Sept 1st, they have a better line-up, a better bullpen and a better Manager in the present time.. Halladay will need a lights out performance for them to win, not a good performance, but his A+ stuff or Phils Stay home for the Leaf Color Season…
Cardinals 4 – Phils 2 … Another Dream Team that underperformed when the bright lights shine and what it matters the most… Expect major Payroll shedding after the season (Oswalt,Lidge,Blanton,Kendrick,Ibanez,Gload,Schneider,Francisco,maybe Rollins and maybe Polanco)

October 7, 2011 3:21 pm

I hope your weekend is terrible, just awful Paulman. I hope you rebound next week, but I want you to suffer greatly for posting such things.

You pulled the crap back before the season with that Braves BS, and I’m half sure you’re just doing it to press my buttons cause I’m calling your BS out today, but that is uncalled for and flat out offensive at a time like this.

I wish you no perminent or long term harm, but may you have a rotten afternoon, evening, and weekend.

October 7, 2011 3:29 pm

And Cliff Lee makes how much??? And he gave up a how many run lead? Stop it with the Ryan Howard nonsense. That man is not the sole reason this team is tied 2-2 today. I won’t play the race card, I’m sick of even fighting that battle. Really, it is what it is. I pull for Ryan Howard, he’s a good guy. This team will win tonight, and the I hate Howard rhetoric will go away until next series. Comparing to Pujols… Pujols is one of the greatest EVER… BUT, where would this Phillies team be without the Big Tickets numbers at #4.

October 7, 2011 3:48 pm

Too late Schiller,
Weather forecast is picture perfect from now thru Tuesday here in the HIgh Country. Hi 60’s-low 70’s sunny,clear and a slight breeze and lows in the evenings to the mid 40’s…. Going to mow the back yard tonight (I did the front and sides last evening) and then watch our Phillies hopefully win tonight to keep their season going.. They need to jump out and keep the crowd aloive and loud.. The doing some hiking tommorrow, visit an Octoberfest Celebrration up at Beech Mountain and then get ready for the Eagles Sunday… My Daughter going to Homecoming High School Football game tonight and Dance Saturday and my son has no Soccer game Saturday so he will go hiking with me tommorrow … life is good .. and hope your weekend is well..

October 7, 2011 3:54 pm

lol.. I love the sarcasm G!!

October 7, 2011 4:15 pm

I have a bad feeling about this game because of the comments of the Phillies players about they aren’t worried because Halladay is pitching

Sounds like they are going to sit back a wait for him to pitch another perfect game

About scoring some damn runs

And G
When the opposing manager walks the batter in front of Howard to get to him and pitches to him with first base open what does that tell you

Manuel wouldn’t do that with another teams cleanup hitter

October 7, 2011 4:21 pm

This has been a team failure. Howard’s struggles may be the most visible, but outside of Rollins and maybe Utley the entire team has had a down series. Polanco and Victorino have been BRUTAL for that matter.

I hate to say it, but since 2008 this has become a trend with this team. This is the third playoffs in a row where they’ve underachieved (up to this point anyway). If they somehow find a way to lose tonight I think this team is going to have to start asking itself some tough questions. They should NOT be going into a game five against this Cardinals team?

October 7, 2011 5:08 pm

GM Paulman’s plan for after the Season

Let Ibanez,Lidge,Schneider,Francisco,Gload all walk
Pay out the couple Million $$ option on Oswalt and let him walk
Look to package a trade and Blanton and Polanco to an AL team and will probably have to pay part of Blanton’s Contract for some younger prospects (middle IF)..

Sign 3B Aramis Ramirez from the Cubs and there is your permanent #5 Hitter behind Howard and a power Right Handed bat..

Re-Sign J-Rollins to a 2 Year Deal, Re-Sign Madson to a 2-3 year Deal
Lock up Cole Hamels for a 5-6 Year Deal, Resign Kendrick and Herndon on 1-2 year deals..

Let Mayberry and D Brown platoon LF, Victorino play CF and Pence RF
IN is Howard, Utley, ROllins and Ramirez

Need to add a middle IF, a 5th OF and Back-up Catcher and at least 1 LHP for the Bullpen to pair up with Bastardo for the tough left-handed batter

I envision a Batting line-up as follows

#1) SS – Rollins
#2) 2B – Utley
#3) RF – Pence
#4) 1B – Howard
#5) 3B – Ramirez
#6) CF – Victorino
#7) LF – D Brown or J Mayberry
#8) C – Ruiz
#9) Pitcher Spot

Starting Rotation
#1) Halladay
#2) Lee
#3) Hamels
#4) Worley
#5) Kendrick or a youndster from Spring Training


Herndon,Stuts, Bastardo,Madson and 2 open spots (1 needs to be a LHP)
I think Contreras has 1 year left


Valdez,Mayberry and need to add back-up Catch, 5th OF and a utility IF and Pinch hitter type

That’s it for now..

October 7, 2011 5:25 pm

People always jump to defends guys like Lee because he says the right thing when talking to the media. All these other players been brutal this series. if you get paid $25 million to play every 5th game, you better be good. Period. If this team loses the pitching deserves just as much blame as anyone. I don’t care who they are. People put so much emphasis on how great pitching is all that matters but them slam the hitters even when the pitching isn’t great. I don’t like how Howard can’t hit lefties, strikes out too much, etc… But if you’re going to slam someone, slam all of them equally.

October 7, 2011 5:51 pm

Seems there’s a very small minority on this site who blames Howard. Thank God!

October 7, 2011 10:22 pm

This is a stupid article. Blame doesn’t need t be 1 or the other. Because lee pitched basle doesn’t mean Howard has been good. He’s in the middle f e lineup,making 25mil.

Gotta be better in the big game

Jon Hart
Jon Hart
October 7, 2011 11:13 pm

This was the worst loss in phillies history.. im lost for words. U pay for all these aces and we cant hit!.. ryan howard gotta go!!!!

Jon Hart
Jon Hart
October 7, 2011 11:14 pm

Pence and howard killed us

October 7, 2011 11:44 pm

$25M waste of f^#@ing space. Howard is a stone cold bum. 0 for his last 15 with 10 K’s!!! Disgraceful! Meaningless stat accumulator, that’s all he is. Doesn’t win big games. Polanco, Ibanez & Utley look like they’re f^#@ing 60 years old. Ruiz is an automatic ground out, every time. F^#@ing absolutely unacceptable!!! BUNCH OF F^#@ING CHOKES!!! Most disappointed I’ve been, EVER!!! Amaro must make major changes, this off season. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!!!!!

October 8, 2011 12:08 am

A very exciting and frustrating game and hope Ryan Howard is ok…
The Better team won this game and Series.. The Cardinals go 24-9 since Sept 1st and were top to bottom, playing better ball than Phils.. .
Halladay Pitched great after a rough 1st Inning , but obviously when the Offense puts up a Goose-Egg you are not going to beat anyone..
Big Off-Season ahead, a solid nucleaus remains, but some of the Core players become another year older and there are Free-agents players to consider resigning or letting them move on and will need replacing..
A disappointment for this 2011 Squad who on paper look to be a sure thing to make the World Series, but like last season, the Phils ran into a hotter team who outhit, outpitched and outmanaged them like the DF Giants did last year.. We will look back at this era and say, wow, with all this talent and and great pitching , how come the Phils only won 1 World Series but that’s the beauty of Sports and the reason they play the games.. Knowing a teams heart, desire and karma is a hard thing to measure, but I sensed that whatever you want to call it, the Cardinals have it and the Phils did not…

October 8, 2011 12:12 am

Your right, Paul.

October 8, 2011 12:39 am

Come on guys, a .133 batting ave in a series when u need him most is not bad….what!! in last year Giants Renteria in WS batted .412, next was Tores .318 then posey .300. well that didn’t happe yr before…what!!! matsui batting ave .615 next 2 with 407 and 364…..crap i guess batting ave is important.What did Howard do with Yankees in 2009? what!!! batting ave .174..screw those stats….howard we have next year buddy

October 8, 2011 12:43 am

So GCOBB I think you got a lil bit ahead of yourself when you wrote this…I think you can take the sarcasm out of this article now because everything people say about Howard is true…The guy has NO CLUTCH GENE. Period. Great you hit some HR’s in the regular season but you Choke HARD in the playoffs every year…This guy is just another McNabb…but instead he got a ring because a guy named Cole Hamels won it for him in the playoffs….

Again and again Philly always seems to have the OVERPAID OVERHYPED players in the league who are choke artists when it matters most. Ruben better pay Cole Hamels anything he wants.

Well he gave 25 million a year to a player who is only good for spraining his ankle in the playoffs so that shouldn’t be a hard decision.

October 8, 2011 12:56 am

Carpenter’s era is 12 but he sure looked good tonight. but come on, last few games Phillies have to score more than 3 runs

October 8, 2011 1:55 am

good job Ben Francisco 1for 2 HR .500 ba . it’s not only howard but he is #1 cause of money and .133 and .174 is just horrible. Rollins and Utley usually stink too. 2008 Rollins .227 and Utley .167, 2009 Rollins .217, 2010 Utley .182. i would have made some changes after yankees WS when Ruiz is your top hitter. jUST sad Ruiz this post season .072.

October 8, 2011 3:52 am

Little Bitch Witch Schiller is trying to cast an evil spell on Paulman and hopes he suffers. You are digressing to childhood I think your id is in a dominant position.

October 8, 2011 3:57 am

Oh my maybe Paulman used his wand to deflect the spell and it wound up affecting the Phillies and they suffered instead. What is wrong with you people
Schiller I think you shoud slap Paulman with you white glove and challange him to a duel he being able to choose the weapons.

October 8, 2011 6:19 am

SCHILL, proven wrong again, huh! Best team in baseball, my @$$!!
Hoping for bad things for people on here, shows everyone what a f^#@ed up, rotten, classless, human being you are SCHILL! I’ll say a prayer for you, because karma is a bitch, & God don’t like ugly!!
Have a splendid weekend!

October 8, 2011 10:05 am

Another example of what you do in the regular season has little relevance when it comes to Playoff Time.. As in all Sports, there is something about Team Chemistry and that Do or Die mentality that a team has to have to achieve a Championship anda it always seems that teams that have to fight,kick,scratch adn claw their way just to make the Post-Season are the teams that have better success than the Teams that simply cruise into the Playoff Season.. We saw this last year also when the SF Giants outplayed the Phils.. The Year the PAtriots went 16-0 and lost a Super Bowl to a marginal NY Giant Team who got hot at the right time and some the Indy COlts teams that were dominant in the Regular Season, then mentally shut it down for the final 2 weeks of the season only to get bounced out of the Playoffs… How many times has the NHL’s Top Regular Season won the Stanly Cup… Bottom line is that winning a Championship is extremely difficult to achieve ad there is no secret formula on how you win, but give me a team playing well going into the Playoffs, no matter what the Sport is, over a team that’s on cruise control anyday which is why I thought the Cardinals would win this Series, they were playing Playoff Type, do or die games all September just to make it in the playoffs while the PHils were just waiting for the Regular season to end..
in a 6 Month Season, what you do in May,June or July is kind of irrelevant and similar to Football,Hockey,Basketball, it’s about getting some breaks,staying healthy and playing well that last month of the Season to have a godo routine and confidence going into the Playoffs.. It was apparent the Phils had little of this going into the Post Season.. ANyone know why MAnager Manuels decides to move Utley to #2 and Pence to #3 and Victorino to #5 in the final week of the Season.and especially versus the Cardinals who are not a heavy Left-handed team Pitching wise.. .

October 8, 2011 10:18 am

He was in the 2 hole cause he’s not 100%.

Very dissapointed in there efforts last night. When my lil lady tells me they look like ish and why the heck are they not scoring its obvious,they stink.

ibanez good-bye…re-sign J-roll(have too)…too Pauls point tell Oswalt good-bye and give Cole his loot. Vanimal will due in the 4th slot next year.

They lack plate presence.With the exception of Vic and Pence everyone consistently swings at crappy pitches and gets behind quick with foul balls and just poor decision making.

Birds need to beat up on Bills….i cant have my winter be like this…

October 8, 2011 10:44 am

I hope you a lot of Fire-Wood Erock,
It’s going to be a long winter for Philly Sport fans I am afraid..
Philly teams have been on a roll for a while and now it’s time for some medicore teams and seasons.. Its just the cycle of things..
If Eagles lose versus the Bills, they will not even make the Playoffs which will make the final 10-12 games very strange for this has not occured for a while where the Eagles were out of Playoff Contention so early in a Season..
As a Coaching staff whose future may be in jeopardy, then what do you do, play your stars every week to try to end up with a respectable record or do you start to playing some of the younger players to see what they can do moving forward.. (Harbor over Celek, Cooper over Avant, Marsh over Samuel, Jarrett over Page/Coleman)
If somehow,someway the Eagles can steal this game this Week vs the BIlls and get to 2-3, then they will still have a chanve, but down 1-4 and then playing the rested Redksins who have their bye this week, it’s all over..

October 8, 2011 11:11 am

#1 fault is hitters, cause all WS champions usually have .300 BA ave in all their series and then slow declines from 300 area. Phillies are lucky to have 2 over that then they drop suddenly to less .200. Red sox champions, ORTIZ was .292 pretty good for one of stars on the team. funny thing was 6 guys were higher than him. Cards when they won Series back in 06. Pujos first series 333,second 318, third 200. That is bottom line with Offense Star guy kicks ass most of the time and when they don’t their is still guys step up and hit the darn ball.

October 8, 2011 11:57 am

WS winning pitchers historically have good era. Cain and Lincecum last yr were 0 era first series. in fact Cain was 0 era in next 2 series Lincecum had about 3.00 era. Hamels was 0 and halladay was 2.12 era i think this last series. Oswalt had a 7.5 era but he was the best last yr series with Giants at 1.84 ERA, HALLAday was 4, and Hamels 3 .

October 8, 2011 12:16 pm

at the game last night and the collective 46 thou+ got quiet whenever Howard, Polly, Ruiz came to hit, put the pitcher in there and you figure out why team can’t score a run, Howard had his chances and came up short, others came up short, but Howard earns the big dough and for two straight seasons Sub par if not pathetic playoffs, sorry to see him hurt, he tries, just not a money player,

October 10, 2011 10:27 am

This is the dumbest article I ever read…..It is Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee’s fault…..But Howard just isn’t that great of a hitter….He should not be making 25 million a year….He should be at about 12 – 14 mill…..He is over paid!!!!!

October 11, 2011 3:32 pm

I really don’t understand why Manuel moved Pence up to the #3 spot, when the Phillies had their greatest offensive success with Pence batting behind Howard…Victorino should have been in the #2 or #3 slot.

October 11, 2011 3:41 pm

Probably becasue both Victorino and Polanco’s Batting Averages dropped by
.20 points over the last 3-4 weeks of the season and were not hitting either..