Originally written on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/3/12
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While the Philadelphia Phillies have gained a bit of momentum since trading away All-Star outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, beating the first-place Washington Nationals on the first two nights after the mini-fire sale, Ryan Howard's bat has slowed to a halt. The struggling first baseman was out of the starting lineup for the first time in 11 games when the Phils unsuccessfully tried to complete the sweep at Nationals Park. "Right now ... I'm in a funk," Howard said Thursday before Philadelphia lost 3-0 at Washington. "And there's no point in trying to hide it. ... I'm not seeing the ball, I'm not comfortable." After missing the first three months of the season while recovering from left Achilles surgery, Howard has struggled to get his bat in midseason form. Howard was 2-for-18 (.111) with 12 strikeouts in the first five games of the Phillies' six-game road trip. He has hit .206 with a .745 OPS, four home runs, nine RBI and 27 strikeouts in 74 plate appearances sin...
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