PHILADELPHIA — Manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that he hoped the Phillies would enjoy their second consecutive walk-off win and Friday’s off-day before they play the Yankees this weekend at Citizens Bank Park. It is a big series before the Phillies head to California to play three games against the Dodgers and three against Gabe Kapler’s Giants.
“We’re chasing the Mets, so every game we play is an important game,” Girardi said.
A few thoughts on a few things before the Yankees come to town:
Howard has a 2.89 ERA in three starts, but he has walked nine in 9 1/3 innings and has seen a significant drop in velocity after the second inning each time. His four-seam fastball averages 94.6 mph in his first two innings. It averages 93.0 mph after that.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski recently shared his thoughts on Howard’s velocity.
“If he throws 93-94 mph, that’s plenty hard enough,” Dombrowski said. “I’ve seen other guys start off throwing hard and lose it, but his other pitches have to be more consistent, which he’s working on. The other thing is, when you start looking at his history, he’s never thrown a lot of pitches in games. I saw somewhere, he topped off at like 85 pitches. So when you start doing that you’re not building up your arm strength at that point to maybe go forward.
“He’s not hurt. We’ve done all…