No, this isn't a public service announcement, but, just in case..guys, you know what you should be doing. Instead, let's focus on protection, but more in an abstract way. I am not getting into whether protection is needed or not, but, rather, who needs it. The word around Philly for the past 6 months is that Howard needs protection in the lineup. I think of it a little differently. I think Howard should be PROTECTING people in this lineup.
Just on a very basic level; how do you protect the MVP? Assuming Howard is one of the best hitters in the league, is there ANY player that is likely to hit after him to make you throw better pitches to Howard? Who would you rather pitch to? I can't see how protection really helps Howard at all since he'll always be the favored guy to NOT pitch to. In fact, a better hitter behind him might give you less reason to pitch to him. Do you really want BOTH of those players swinging at your pitches?
What I find curious is why people don't think Pat needs protection. Wouldn't that maximize what he can give you? If Howard hit behind Pat, then are you REALLY going to throw slop his way hoping he swings? No, you are going to try to get him out cause you really don't need ANOTHER man on base before a Howard HR. Pat, more than anyone would benefit from Howard hitting behind him if protection did exist. Plus, you could plit the lefties.
More balanced, may allow Pat to see more pitches to hit and allows his high OBP go to better use with the hitters behind him. Of course, you would NEVER hear anyone in Philly show this kind of thought process. Easier to just throw somebody under the bus.