Yeah, David Wright delivered another cleated curb stomp to the Phillies’ psyche last night. But worry not, sports fans, because general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has good news for you! Amaro revealed after the game that first baseman Ryan Howard will make his return to the Phillies’ lineup Friday night after missing the first 84 games of the season.
‘Lot has changed since Howard crumpled midway down the first base line last October. None of it has been good, or even remotely acceptable, for that matter.
But the much anticipated return of the Phillies’ most dangerous hitter has undoubtedly created some buzz this morning, so here’s a preview of questions you’re going to hear discussed by all the fancy baseball writer types regarding the big man’s return.
Can Howard help the Phillies overcome their hideous 37-47 record? Can he help them leapfrog the eight fucking teams ahead of them in the wild card standings? Can he help the Phillies make up the gaping 8.5 game difference between his team and the playoffs? Can he teach Shane Victorino to drive the ball more than 72 feet in the air? Can he teach Hunter Pence not to look like fucking Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie “Radio” when chasing a pop up?
The answer, of course, is fuck no. But Howard is a sight for sore eyes. As of this morning, Baseball Prospectus gives the Phillies a miniscule 3.5 percent chance of reaching the postseason. Still, Howard’s return means more than hopelessly trying to revive faint hopes about the short-term. It should provide a subtle reminder that this team isn’t headed for a decade long decent into the depths of the NL East. That the Phillies, with their immense spending power, can retool and jump back into the mix next season. Whether or not they will remains to be seen. But at the very least, I don’t have to watch John Mayberry play first base anymore. ‘Cuz that guy is the fucking worst.