Ryan Howard sat out last night’s game after fouling a ball off his right foot and is also expected to get a cortisone injection in his sore left ankle today, so he’s unlikely to be back in the Phillies’ lineup before Thursday.
Howard would almost surely play through bursitis in his ankle if the Phillies hadn’t already clinched the division title and weren’t a near-lock for homefield advantage. Or as the former MVP put it: “The focus is towards October and being healthy for October.”
As usual Howard is knocking in a ton of runs, leading the league with 113 RBIs, but he’s also posted career-lows in batting average (.249), slugging percentage (.490), and OPS (.833) while hitting just .237 in 120 games since a strong April.
The Athletics tied a league record on Saturday thanks to Stephen Piscotty, who launched a two-run, 396-foot home run off of the White Sox’ Dylan Covey to put the club on the board in the second inning. The homer may not have erased the five-run deficit the A’s were working against, but it extended their home run streak to 24 consecutive road games — tying the 1996 Orioles for the longest home run streak on the road in 22 years.
Following Piscotty’s blast, they eventually tied things up in the fifth inning with a sac fly from Dustin Fowler and a two-run double off the bat of Jed Lowrie. Daniel Mengden, meanwhile, was forced off the mound after just two innings; he expended 44 pitches and gave up five runs on four hits and two walks.
The Athletics are currently tied with the White Sox 5-5 in the fifth. They’ll attempt to get a leg up in the series finale — and earn the standalone league record for most consecutive road games with a home run — when right-hander Paul Blackburn and southpaw Carlos Rodon go head-to-head on Sunday at 2:10 PM ET.