Powerful Howard in select company
Phillies slugger tied with Brewers' Fielder for RBI lead
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder both play first base, so it stands to reason a couple young and talented power-hitting first basemen occasionally chat at the bag.
"Do we Chuck Taylor over there?" Howard said.
Uh, Chuck Taylor?
"Converse," he replied.
Yes, Howard and Fielder talk, but not necessarily about their race for the Major League RBI title. Howard and Fielder enter Friday's game at Miller Park tied for the big league lead with 132. Howard picked up two RBIs in Thursday's 9-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, while Fielder picked up one (with the help of a Howard error) to share the lead.
But while Howard inadvertently gave one back to Fielder, catcher Paul Bako took one away with a violent collision at the plate in the sixth inning, when Corey Hart tried to score on a Fielder double. Shane Victorino made a great throw to Chase Utley, who made a great throw to Bako, who held onto the ball as Hart speared him in his left shoulder.
"Bring that up to Howie, please," Bako joked. "And if he wins by one, make sure he knows."
"It was a big play by Bak," Howard said.
It has been just another season of big numbers for Howard. He is hitting .271 with 42 home runs and 132 RBIs. It is his fourth consecutive season with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs. Only Babe Ruth (seven years, 1926-32), Ken Griffey Jr. (four years, 1996-99) and Sammy Sosa (four years, 1998-2001) have accomplished the feat. Howard and Sosa hold the National League record with four consecutive 130-RBI seasons.
"That's cool," Howard said. "That's good company to be a part of. That's doing something. It's a pleasure to be a part of that."
And Howard, who is hitting .302 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 45 games since Aug. 7, still has 10 games to play.
"I'm still trying to get things going," Howard said. "You'll have good and bad days. Sometimes you'll get two or three hits. Sometimes you'll get one. I'm just trying to make them count right now, you know?"
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.