Big League Stew - MLB

UPDATE: It's official. Howard breaks the record with a strikeout against Damaso Marte(notes) in the eighth inning of Wednesday's Game 6. 

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Phillies slugger Ryan Howard(notes) hasn't let teammate Chase Utley(notes) enter the World Series record books all by himself during this World Series against the Yankees.

In an almost balancing fashion, Utley's home run power surge against New York has been matched by Howard, whose strikeout binge has tied Royals' speedster Willie Wilson for the most Ks in World Series history with 12 trips back to the bench.

Phillies fans probably recall the 1980 World Series, which ended with Tug McGraw striking out Wilson to end Game 6 at Veterans Stadium and clinch the first title in club history.

Like Utley's five Series homers to tie Reggie Jackson's 32-year-old mark, Wilson's was a good record for the Phillies. On the other hand, Howard wants nothing more to do with swinging and missing. After winning the NLCS MVP against the Dodgers, he's batting .158 (3-for-19) in the Series and is 1-for-14 since he hit a pair of doubles in Game 1.

Howard's 12th strikeout came between solo home runs for Utley and Raul Ibanez(notes) against left-hander Phil Coke(notes) in the bottom of the seventh of Monday's Game 5. Howard can't say it's all good Yankees pitching that has him struggling.

The Yankees will start devilish lefty Andy Pettitte in tonight's Game 6 and lefty CC Sabathia(notes) (if necessary) in Game 7, so if Howard is to break his slump, he'll have to do it against southpaws. And we all know he's significantly weaker against lefties.

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