The news came out Monday that Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez would start for the National League in the All-Star Game.
But the starting pitcher choice of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel -- who as the manager of the defending league champions will lead the National League in the Mid-Summer Classic -- wasn’t the most important to Phils fans.
Instead with the game being played in an American League park, Manuel could utilize a designated hitter and he didn’t have to look beyond his own clubhouse to pick a starter.
Phightins slugger Ryan Howard will be the National League DH and bat cleanup for his regular skipper, Manuel.
Uncle Cholly explained the choice.
“Not only is he my guy, he's got 119 at-bats against left-handed pitchers and 65 RBI,” Manuel said.
Manuel is banking on Howard coming up big against American League starter David Price. The Tampa Bay lefty earned starting honors after leading the AL with 12-4 record and 2.42 ERA in the first half.
“(Howard) can hit 'em. He's hitting .294. He's very capable of hitting fourth in an All-Star lineup.”
But Charlie’s choice could reach criticism. In six career plate appearances against Price, Howard has managed only one hit and one RBI while striking out twice.
The question now is will Howard make Manuel look good by getting a big hit or will Manuel look like a homer blinded by dedication to his guy?
The All-Star Game is Tuesday night in Anaheim, Ca. Phillies ace Roy Halladay and injured second baseman Chase Utley join Howard on the NL roster.
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