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Howard: 'We've played very well this year'

The Phillies have lost three straight games. They've played sloppy, error-filled baseball. But Ryan Howard believes the team has played well after 8 games.

The 2014 season is just 8 games old for the Phillies, but they reside in last place in the National League East. They've lost three straight games entering Thursday, when they attempt to avoid a sweep at Citizens Bank Park to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Phillies have made 6 errors in the last three games. Their opponents have scored 15 runs in the innings the Phillies have made errors in those games.

Even though his team has looked less than good lately - and their only series win came against the woeful Chicago Cubs - first baseman Ryan Howard said the Phillies have played "very well."

"In all actuality we've actually played very well this year," Howard said Thursday afternoon. "I disagree with everybody else. Our record doesn't necessarily reflect that right now, but, you know, we've played well. We had three real bad games. So the only thing to do is go out there and try to win again."

After a tough luck 0-for-5 on Sunday, the first of the Phillies three consecutive losses, Howard has gone 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in the first two games of the current homestand. He also made an error in the pivotal eighth inning on Wednesday night, which led directly to the Brewers scoring the go-ahead, game-winning run.

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was angry the play  was ruled an error - pinch hitter Logan Schafer's bouncing ground ball quickly whisked by Howard, who was drawn in at first base. But Howard said it was definitely an error.

"It was an error," he said. "I had a play on it… I just tried to be too quick."

The Phillies will get a boost in the finale against the Brewers tonight: Chase Utley is back in the lineup after missing back-to-back games while sick with the flu.


1. Ben Revere, CF

2. Jimmy Rollins, SS

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Marlon Byrd, RF

6. Domonic Brown, LF

7. Carlos Ruiz, C

8. Cody Asche, 3B

9. Cliff Lee, P

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