The slugger leads the Philadelphia Phillies against the last-place Nationals in a day-night twinbill Saturday.
The 2006 NL MVP hit his first home run since May 7, a three-run shot in the seventh inning, that gave Philadelphia a 6-4 lead Friday. It was Howard’s seventh this season and fifth on the road.
“Once we got there in the game, and I looked at their team and our team, and compared what players were left, what pitchers,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel explained, “I said … ‘We’re going for it.”’
Howard’s homer was his only hit in six at-bats. The major league leader with 160 homers since the start of 2006, he’s batting .338 (25 for 74) with eight homers and 14 RBIs in 23 games during doubleheaders in his career.
On Sunday, the left-hander took a batted ball off his ankle and exited after giving up five runs, 10 hits and a season high-tying three walks over 4 1-3 innings of a 10-8 loss to Arizona.
“My outing was awful,” he told the Nationals’ official Web site. “There was nothing positive.”
Olsen beat the Phillies 4-1 on April 29 and is 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his last six starts against them.
He allowed eight runs and walked six - both season highs - in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-7 loss to San Francisco on Monday. Cabrera issued four straight bases on balls in the fifth after Ryan Zimmerman(notes) misplayed a ball in left field.
Though manager Manny Acta said he would keep Cabrera in the rotation for now, he ripped his pitcher for what he saw as a lack of mental toughness.
“You have to put errors behind you and you have to be able to shake it off,” Acta said. “I told him that he wasn’t able to handle it. This is Major League Baseball and the difference from the minors is the mental aspect. You have to be able to put those things behind you.”
Cabrera didn’t get a decision in a 9-8 loss to Philadelphia on April 13, pitching five innings and giving up four runs - one earned. He’s 0-1 with a save and a 7.45 ERA in three career appearances versus the Phillies.
Zimmerman, whose 30-game hitting streak ended in Washington’s 6-3 win over San Francisco on Wednesday, had three hits Friday and is batting .362. He’s recorded at least a hit in all 14 games at Nationals Park this year, batting .403 (25 for 62).
Brett Myers(notes) (2-2, 4.81) looks to build on his best outing of 2009 for the Phillies in Saturday’s opener. The right-hander gave up a run and five hits over six innings Sunday, although Philadelphia fell 4-2 to Atlanta.
Myers lost to Olsen and the Nats on April 29, dropping to 8-8 with a 4.57 ERA in 21 starts against Washington.
Philadelphia’s Andrew Carpenter(notes) will start the second contest in place of Happ in his second career game. The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his major league debut against the New York Mets on Aug. 27.
Carpenter, a second-round draft pick in 2006, was 1-0 with a 4.72 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.