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What's Ryan Howard's problem?

Nov 4, 2009, 10:25 AM EDT

Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Inquirer offers five possible explanations for Ryan Howard’s struggles during the World Series:

(1) He’s putting too much pressure on himself;

(2) That’s just baseball. Slumps happen;

(3) The time off between the NLCS and World Series cost him his “mojo”;

(4) The Yankees pitchers are just executing; and

(5) The Yankees have a better game plan against Howard than anyone else;

Reasons number one and three are basically unquantifiable for us in the peanut gallery. What’s the scientific definition of mojo anyway? Who besides Howard can say if he’s putting too much pressure on himself, and even if he is, might that not be a reaction to his slump as opposed to its cause?

I’m far more partial to reasons two four and five. Partially because they represent phenomena that can actually be observed in the rational universe as opposed to residing inside someone’s head, but also because all three of them go together nicely.  The Yankees have a bunch of good pitchers. They have a pretty sharp pitching coach and a manager who was a pretty spiffy defensive catcher. Slumps happen.  It’s all of a piece, really, and that’s before mentioning the fact that Howard can’t hit lefties to begin with.

Any other possibilities here? Body snatchers? El Nino? An international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids?

  1. John - Nov 4, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    You have a shrink? hehehe… ;-) PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  2. KevinD - Nov 4, 2009 at 6:30 PM

    Pitchers are getting a lot of first-pitch strikes (usually breaking stuff) on him, and that sets him up in defensive mode for the rest of the at-bat. If I were him, I would definitely be ready to swing on the first pitch and I would further expect it to have some break to it.
    The best thing the Phils could do right now is move him down to 7th or so. Have a line-up of Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Werth, Ibanez, Feliz, Howard, Ruiz, etc. Okay, stick the DH in there somewhere (I would go with Francisco over Stairs), but by moving Howard down you a) alternate lefty and righty bats and b) take pressure off Howard. He shouldn’t consider it a demotion, just a way to shake things up for both him (good) and the Yankees (do you pitch around Utley with Werth next up?).
    Kevin

  3. Dick B - Nov 4, 2009 at 7:19 PM

    After tonight the only swing Howard will be worried about is his golf swing. I don’t care for the Yankees, but at this point in time they appear to be the better team. Yankees in six.

  4. Enterprise Resource Planning - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    I can not imagine finding this information right on time, thank you.

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