Ryan Howard played in a major league game last night for the first time since rupturing his left Achilles tendon on the final out of the NLDS against the Cardinals last October. However, his return wasn’t enough to save the Phillies, as they fell 5-0 to the Braves.
Howard was greeted with a rousing standing ovation by the Philadelphia faithful for his first at-bat of the season in the second inning and responded with long drive to center field. It landed on the warning track between Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward as Howard gently galloped his way to second base. He added a looping single to shallow center field in the seventh and finished the night 2-for-4.
The game was actually scoreless until the top of the eighth inning, when Antonio Bastardo walked Freddie Freeman with the bases loaded to force in a run. The very next batter, Brian McCann, hit a grand slam to center field to give the Braves some breathing room. Tim Hudson tossed seven innings of shutout ball in the win, despite not striking out a batter.
The Phillies are just 1-8 since the return of Chase Utley (and 0-1 since the return of Howard) and now sit at 37-48 on the season. This is the first time the club has been 11 games under .500 since June 5, 2002. The clock is ticking.
Your Friday box scores:
Giants 6, Pirates 5
Rays 10, Indians 3
Royals 2, Tigers 4
Rockies 5, Nationals 1
Yankees 10, Red Sox 8
Cubs 8, Mets 7
Twins 5, Rangers 1
Brewers 7, Astros 1
Blue Jays 2, White Sox 4
Marlins 3, Cardinals 2
Mariners 1, Athletics 4
Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 5
Orioles 3, Angels 2
Reds 6, Padres 0
Bruce Bochy just told reporters at spring training in Scottsdale that he plans to retire following the 2019 season.
Bochy’s Giants are certainly in a transitional period right now. They aren’t calling it a rebuild in San Francisco, but it’s hard to see how what they’ve done this offseason and what sort of talent they have in house right now amounts to a contender. If there will be a more thorough restructuring or reshuffling or — gasp! — even a rebuilding, it’ll likely be a lengthy one. Bochy will turn 65 during the 2020 season and, after 25 years on the bench, he may simply not have the desire to put in the kind of time such a rebuild will take.
But what a 25 years it’s been. He managed the Padres from 1995 through 2006 and took the Giants over in 2007. He led San Diego t the 1998 NL Pennant and has, obviously, led the Giants to three World Series titles, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. For his career he has a record of 1926-1944.
Given those three rings, however, he will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame at his first opportunity.