Howard may have found his stroke in Atlanta after hitting 2 HR's last night
The Phillies haven't been under too much pressure to 'need' to win a game in a while. They've been coasting along in first place for a long time now, and even in their worst moments during the season, they've always managed to stay atop the NL East. They won 4-1 last night in a rain delayed ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The win put a distance of 4.5 games between the Phils and the Florida Marlins.
Lately, the Florida Marlins have been a resurging ballclub. They've been hanging around within arm's reach of the Phillies for the past couple of weeks, and shown they have some staying power to possibly be there into late September.
There will certainly be chances for Florida Marlins, as the Phillies close out the regular season with those very Marlins for the last three games of the year. Even if the Phillies finish up 3 games ahead of the Marlins by that end of the regular season, it could be the Marlins last chance to make up any mistakes they may make as we head towards the middle of September next month. The Phillies must work to increase their lead over the Marlins now to put them out of reach.
The other team that is showing signs of life against the Phils postseason in the division is the Atlanta Braves. Will they have enough gas down the stretch? Will they get the lucky bounces along the next month and a half to bring them close to the Phils. One great thing is the Braves play the Marlins about 9 more times this season and that's a good thing for the Phillies.
Ryan Howard won a game yesterday for the Phillies. He should start doing that more often. His $15 million dollar salary has been a very quiet investment so far for the team. He has a lot of strikeouts and again has made a lot of blunders at first for the Phils this year. Howard is way off his mark of homeruns to make it near 50 this year, unless he has more multiple home run games like last night. He seemed like he was getting more base hits early in the season but lately have turned to striking out a lot.