The Phillies have lost three of their last four, including a 9-3 beat-down Monday in Boston.
And Charlie Manuel is not --- not, repeat not, is not, will not, shall not, won't --- change cleanup hitters.
Here's why: He knows that the Phillies can salvage this season only if Ryan Howard starts hitting. And if he starts hitting, he might as well be in the four-hole.
Benching him, or even moving him down in the order, won't help ... at least yet. Later, maybe. Maybe. But not in May.
Once more, with feeling: Either Howard hits or the Phillies fail. It's the only card the manager has left, and darn it, he is going to snap it down on the table.
“When I think of Howard, he is kind
of different from all those other hitters,” Manuel said. “On
nights when he is hitting the ball, he stands a good chance of
knocking in runs. I don't really think moving him in the lineup makes
a whole lot of difference, really. I think how he is hitting on that
day is how he is hitting. Some days, he has bad days. Other days, he
is doing good. I don't think moving him would help. If anything, I
don't particularly like sending him a message. I don't think it's the
time of his career for me to send him a message.”
Howard went 2-for-4 Monday and rattled a double high off the Green Monster --- that, despite achy 33-year-old knees.
For the Phillies, it was as close as anything to an encouraging development in a season with far too few.
Check out my column from Fenway Park in the Daily Times Tuesday and, as always, on delcotimes.com