Ryan Howard thinks he can be a 30-100 guy again

20 Comments

This is a few days old, but per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard thinks he can still be a 30-100 guy (as in 30 home runs and 100 RBI). Howard has been slowed by injuries ever since he tore his Achilles tendon making the final out in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals. He missed the final three months of the 2013 season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee as well.

Howard, however, looks at what David Ortiz has accomplished and wonders “why not me?”

“Everybody in this league has experienced success on every level that they’ve played,” he said. “You have success and then you have a little bit of turmoil. It’s how you find a way to get back to that success, like Marlon Byrd, like David Ortiz. Age doesn’t play a factor.”

He continued:

“Can I be a 30-100 guy?” he said. “Yeah, I definitely think so. I believe in my ability. I hear what people say. It’s cool. You guys are all entitled to your opinions. But let’s say I come back and I do what I do. Then what? If I come back and put up numbers like ’07, ’08, ’09, then what? Are we having these conversations?”

Howard last accomplished the 30-100 feat in 2011 and he just turned 34 years old. Since 2010, the only players 34 years old or older to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs are Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, and Alex Rodriguez. In the 2013 season alone, only ten players achieved the goal regardless of age: Ortiz, Soriano, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Alvarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, and Jay Bruce. The ten instances in 2013 are down from 19 in 2009.

Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

Getty Images
2 Comments

The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.