Lots of people talking about this great article about how many curve balls Ryan Howard saw last year. Milt Thompson says that given how many breaking balls Howard sees he should be able to walk 150 times in a season. That may be a little optimistic, but it does seem like Howard should be drawing more walks. Howard has been in the top three in all of baseball in home runs for each of the past four seasons. Here’s how his rate of walks compares to the other top home run hitters from either league in 2009:

Player PA HR BB % of PA BB
A Pujols 700 47 115 16.4
P Fielder 719 46 110 15.3
R Howard 703 45 75 10.7
M Reynolds 662 44 76 11.5
A Gonzalez 681 40 119 17.5
C Pena 570 39 87 15.3
M Teixeira 707 39 81 11.5
A Dunn 668 38 116 17.4
J Werth 676 36 91 13.5
A Hill 734 36 42 5.7
J Bay 638 36 94 14.7

The group of players walked in about 14.9% of their plate appearances in 2009 on average. Howard walked in about 10.7% of his. The only player on the list who drew walks less often was Aaron Hill.

The Yankees beat the Phils 7-5 yesterday in a game that featured Jose Contreras allowing six runs on six hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings. Kendrick pitched very well before that, throwing three scoreless innings. Scott Mathieson struck out two in his inning, but allowed a run on a single and a double. Mayberry went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and Rollins was also 2-for-4 with a solo shot.

It sure seemed like Moyer was a heavy favorite to win the fifth starter job. I still think he is, but it’s great to see Kendrick pitching so well.

Halladay will pitch in tonight’s game against the Yankees. Victorino, who has missed time with a sore shoulder, is expected to play.

Charlie Manuel tops Gene Mauch and Dallas Green in this poll on best manager in Phillies history. I concur.