Dodgers mistake Ryan Howard, NLCS MVP, for mere mortal

Pitchers in the National League learned the hard way how to deal with Phillies slugger Ryan Howard(notes): There will be no peace, as long as you pitch to the "Big Piece."

After the Phillies finished off the Dodgers with an 10-4 victory Wednesday night to capture the NL pennant for a second consecutive season, reporters named Howard the NLCS MVP.

He batted .333 with a 1.457 OPS, two homers and eight RBIs in the series for the Phillies, who won in five games. They await the ALCS winner of Angels-Yankees, whom they will oppose in next week's World Series.

"It was a total team effort all the way around and, coming back here to Philly, I think the fans gave us the edge," Howard said afterward.

"We got one more step. And then we got action."

Just get Howard to the plate, as he says, and action is exactly what the Phillies have come to expect. He shares a record with Lou Gehrig and Alex Rodriguez(notes) for having driven in a run in eight consecutive postseason games, and he's batting .355 with 14 RBIs in nine playoff games overall.

Howard might not win NL MVP, but he's certainly the most dangerous hitter left on the board this side of A-Rod. And now the Yankees/Angels have to ask themselves: Why would we pitch to this guy again?

When Howard bats, Jayson Werth(notes) is on deck. A smart, underrated hitter, he is a big part of the Phillies' success. But he's not the "Big Piece" by a longshot.

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