Ryan Howard hits 2 homers, continues hot streak

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Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hit two home runs off of Mets starter Dillon Gee this afternoon, his seventh multi-hit game in his last 11 games. Since June 9, Howard has raised his OPS 98 points from .730 to .828 An Achillies injury that ended his 2011 and cut into a large part of his 2012, and a recent knee injury have both slowed the lefty slugger, but as we have moved into summer, his bat has caught fire.

Some of that, of course, can be credited to Gee, against whom Howard has had tremendous success:

The two-homer game was Howard’s first since August 30, 2011. It is Howard, arguably more than anyone else on the roster, that the Phillies needed to see pick up the slack, making his last two weeks all the more joyous for the club.

Video: Ian Kinsler homers in WBC final, rounds bases solemnly

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Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.

Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.

Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.