Well, not entirely, according to bloglover and sabreboy nemesis Marcus Hayes. In his recent article about Ryan Howard's struggles, Hayes bends over backwards to find reasons why Howard isn't performing up to his previous levels. Here is one excuse Hayes makes for Howard.
"It doesn't help that Howard lacks a true power bat behind him. Pat Burrell lost his chance at hitting fifth to Aaron Rowand, who has proved to be a very good hitter with moderate punch."
Is this accurate? Well, Howard has primarily been the Phillies #4 hitter. I don't have access to the data for batters in the 5th and 6th holes when Howard bats, but since he has been there except for 2 games at the beginning of the season and a 2 week stretch, the overall numbers should be sufficient.
Phils #5 hitters:
.266 .367 .459 .826 (9/30) 20 HR (7/20) 75 RBI
Phils #6 hitters:
.290 .370 .492 .862 (2/30) 20 HR (6/30) 83 RBI
The Phillies 5th spot hitter ranks 9th out of 30 teams in MLB in OPS and their 6th spot ranks 2nd (this includes DHs who are paid JUST to hit and not play the field as well). I'd say that Howard has had some pretty decent protection behind him.
Yeah, he has been slumping as of late. Most of it is his impatience. He is walking a lot less which means that he is swinging at pitches he KNOWS he can't hit. I don't know if this is a "pressure" situation, but I am sure he'll come out of it. But it certainly isn't Rowand or Burrell's fault.