While Maikel Franco will be appearing in a beam of sunlight piercing through Hurricane Joaquin this weekend, not every Phillie will be lucky enough to finish the year with this... this team.
It's still very easy to remember a time when this infield was filled out with stars and Jeff Francoeur was only on the base paths at CBP because he was staring down at the ground, swallowing nuclear rage as Eric Bruntlett celebrated somehow pulling off an unassisted triple play. Back then, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and all the other fan favorites were still celebrating alongside their utility infielders when they inexplicably made baseball history. These days, there are few left. For now.
But Ryan Howard is still shuffling about in the background, playing first base and hitting clean-up and hooking Darin Ruf up whenever he needs a ride to the mall. He's had a productive 2015 as one of the few hitters featured in a Phillies lineup who could summon power on occasion. He hit .229 with 23 home runs. He struck out 138 times in 467 AB. You know. Ryan Howard stuff.Mets vs Phillies coverage
The near future, it seems, has been written.
Howard not feeling well. So, unavailable. Since he hasn't faced live pitching in more than 2 weeks, doubtful to play at all in last 5 games.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) September 30, 2015
As will be the case for Howard in Philadelphia over the slow crawl to the dawn of the next millennium, there's always next year. Isn't that right, player morale specialist Pete Mackanin?
Asked if how to handle Ryan Howard & his playing time is going to be one of his biggest challenges next year, Mackanin said "Yep, for sure."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 30, 2015
Pete Mackanin on Ryan Howard's year: "It wasn't the best performance. It wasn't the greatest. He needs to get better." #Phillies— Stephen Gross (@SteveGrossMCall) September 30, 2015