The Phils found some rare luck in Pittsburgh last night when they snapped the Pirates' nine-game win streak. They'll have two chances to take the series from our state rival tonight and during the day tomorrow. They'll have to do it with Ryan Howard on the bench this evening who is battling some knee pain.
Howard may have aggravated it when he put on the burners to score from first on a Delmon Young ball in the gap to cap off the three-run sixth that would eventually earn them the victory. While it may not be the most fluid thing in the world, watching the Big Piece truck is certainly something (video).
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As CSN points out, this will be the third time in the last five games that Howard is not in the lineup. Hopefully a little rest will do him well.
Tonight's pitching matchup pits John Lannan against lefty Jeff Locke who is an impressive 7-1 with a 2.06 ERA on the season.
As for the Phils' futility at PNC:
Despite their win last night, Philadelphia is just 15-24 (.385) against the Pirates in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001 ... The Phils have not won a series in Pittsburgh since April 25-27, 2008, and have lost each of their last four series here (4-9 in 13 games since 2009) ... Strangely, however, the Phillies have scored just two runs less than the Pirates in their 39 games all-time at PNC (168-170) ... Philadelphia’s starters are just 12-17 with a 4.09 ERA (104 ER,228.2 IP) at PNC over that span.
Don't forget the series will wrap up during the day tomorrow, so you can enjoy the Phils' radio broadcast at 1:35 while you lay on the beach. The Phils then come home for a nice long homestand that kicks off against the rival Braves. It's crunch time in South Philly.