Phils’ Howard trying to play follow leader

If there was one criticism of Ryan Howard this season, it was that his power numbers were down.

Obviously, he got the memo.

In the three games since the All-Star break — last night’s game ended too late — Howard has three home runs and six RBIs for the Phillies. Better yet, he hasn’t sacrificed batting average, going 5-for-11 in those games to put him at .299 for the year. The hulking first baseman is hoping his teammates can build off his momentum.

“I’m just going to keep going out there and trying to do what I can,” Howard said. “That’s one of those things where hopefully we can get it turned around.”

Howard is referring to the team’s anemic offense. The Phillies are averaging 4.1 runs per game so far in July (ranked 11th-best in the majors). At this time last year, they were at 5.6 runs and riding a seven-game winning streak.

“We haven’t hit for a long time,” Phils skipper Charlie Manuel said. “We catch some spurts where we come out of it, and on a given night we might score some runs, but then we fall right back into it. It’s inconsistent play.”

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