Spencer Howard was in complete control Wednesday night for Reading against Trenton in the divisional round of the Eastern League playoffs, pitching seven innings of one-run ball and striking out a career-high 12 batters.
Howard, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, put just four men on base — two hits, two walks. His 99 pitches were a career high.
Howard has been terrific in seven starts for Double A Reading. He has a 1.96 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 37⅔ innings.
You'll recall that in the South Atlantic League playoffs a year ago this week, Howard pitched a no-hitter to get Lakewood to the championship.
Overall this season, the 23-year-old Howard has struck out 106 batters and walked 20 in 78 innings. The Phillies could have themselves a top-of-the-rotation arm in the near future. They certainly need another one to complement Aaron Nola. Since the start of 2018, the Phillies are 18 games over .500 when Nola pitches and 13 games under .500 when anyone else does.
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