09/29/08 5:26 PM ET
Howard September NL Player of Month
Slugger drove in 32 RBIs during torrid stretch of time
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
While helping to boost the Phillies to the NL East title, Howard had 32 RBIs and an .852 slugging percentage in September. His home run, RBI and slugging percentage marks led the NL.
"Ryan's our carrier," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "When I was in Cleveland, we had more than one carrier. He's our carrier. He's the guy who puts up the big numbers. He's the guy that knocks in the 130 to 160 RBIs. He's the guy who's big in the moment."
Howard hit just .213 in August, but it all came together for him at the plate in September. Before 2008, Howard had been a career .318 hitter in September and October.
"You just go up there with your game plan and, whatever happens after that, happens," Howard said. "You want to come through when your team needs it and provide a lift."
Howard was locked in at the plate in September and the breaks went his way, too.
"When the balls are falling in, it's different," Howard said. "There are some things you could be doing when you're in a slump that you're doing when you're hitting .400. It's all about the ball falling in."
Howard, 28, had nine multi-hit games in September, including consecutive multi-hit games on Sept. 7 against the Mets and Sept. 8-9 against Florida. He also had a multi-homer game on Sept. 3 at Washington, when he hit a pair of two-run shots.
Howard, who was the 2006 NL MVP, finished the regular season with NL-best marks of 48 homers and 146 RBIs. He's the first Phils player with three consecutive 40-homer seasons.
It's the third Player of the Month award for Howard, who also was chosen in both August and September 2006.
Others receiving votes included Dodgers teammates Manny Ramirez (.370, 8 HR, 28 RBIs) and Andre Ethier (.462, 8 2B, 18 RBIs) and D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew (.337, 6 HR, 12 RBIs).
Sharp, the presenting sponsor of the NL Player of the Month Award, will present Howard with a 52-inch AQUOS. Sharp AQUOS is the official high-definition television of Major League Baseball. Howard will also receive a specially designed trophy to mark his achievements.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.