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Ryan Howard Likely to Start at First Base for the Phillies Tonight, But Are You Still Excited?

Jul 6, 2012, 10:16 AM EDT

Your probable 3-4 hitters for tonight's contest against Tim Hudson and the Braves are Chase Utley and the Big Piece. Oh, it's been too long.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that Ryan Howard is likely to start at first base for your Philadelphia Phillies this evening at Citizens Bank Park. That means your probable 3-4 hitters for tonight’s contest against Tim Hudson and the Braves are Chase Utley and the Big Piece. Oh, it’s been too long.

But given the current state of Phillies baseball — 13 back of the Nationals in the East, 8.5 back of the Wild Card –  especially coming off last night’s brutal beating by the New York Mets, to what degree is the excitment of the slugger’s return diminished?

I’m not even sure how I feel myself. On one hand, it’ll be nice to have a regular lineup anchored by a guy who can hit a home run with ease. On the other hand, “but what are they playing for at this point?”

Even though this season has been painful to watch unfold, I found myself sitting at a bar last night watching a random Thursday night game against the Mets with the intensity of a playoff game. There was that (false?) hope that one big win could turn the season around. “One more Utley and Chooch back-to-back jobber could turn this thing around,” I thought. “The return of the Big Piece could turn this thing around,” some hope.

Eh, it’s all probably wishful thinking. But Ryan Howard’s return gives them a better chance of winning on a nightly basis. You know we’re still going to tune in on a quasi regular basis regardless.

And winning sure beats losing. Especially to the Mets.

Here’s to watching Ryan Howard give it his best shot as the catalyst for change.

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How excited are you for Ryan Howard’s return?