I was listening to last night's Braves broadcast via MLB Game Day Audio when the first rain delay struck. I guess it was Stu Klitenic and Mark Lemke who took over the broadcast during the delay, and they asked listeners to call in and give their opinions on which players should be considered MVP candidates this season.
So of course, they ask the very first caller: "Who do you think should be MVP?"
And the guy replies, "Why do we keep pitching to Ryan Howard? The guy has hit more home runs against the Braves than any other team! He kills us! I can't believe we don't walk him every time up!"
Okay, I'm paraphrasing here. I didn't actually log back in this morning and listen to the game archive so I could quote him verbatim - but you get the idea. I did, however, look up Ryan Howard's home run log on baseball-reference.com. After his second two-homer game vs. Atlanta in two weeks, he now has 29 career bombs against the Braves. Against his other division opponents: 30 homers vs. Washington, 25 vs. New York, and 23 vs. Florida.
Not a lot of difference there, but after his perfect 3 for 3 night, two homers, and three RBI, Howard personally made sure that Atlanta began its fifth consecutive series with a loss - and as a Braves fan it's easy to harbor some animosity towards him. As a baseball fan, however, I can tell you that watching him take BP earlier this year before an interleague game at Tampa was one of the highlights of my season. I love watching the guy hit - I just wish he'd work on upping his strikeout total a bit when facing the Braves, rather than padding his slugging stats.
And now we get to face Cliff Lee.
The Braves will counter with Derek Lowe, who has struggled recently.
If you're trying hard to stay positive, at least Colorado and Florida lost last night, and if we rebound and beat Lee today, we can still win this series tomorrow - and then the Florida series will still mean something. We'll see.