Ryan Howard FInally Meets His Match If Only For One Game Dontrelle Willis

Updated: September 12, 2006



Dontrelle is Back


No one Win does not a season make. But it sure can tell you a lot. Dontrelle spoke LOUD and clear with a Baseball Sunday at home in Miami against Philadelphia. Which is another way of saying these days against Ryan Howard. Two young African American Baseball Titans. Going toe to toe. Pitch to Bat.

Go Go Go

What a game it was

for Dontrelle if not

for Howard and the



complete game



What may be as Fascinating the Marlins are actually in a fight with the Phillies and the San Diego Padres and maybe one or two others for The Wild Card. No one would have predicted that after the Marlins gutted their entire team after last season with Willis almost the only Survivor. And he has paid for it.

While Florida is battling for The Wild Card they are doing it with a less than staggering 72-71 record. Which means Wild Card or NO Wild Card Dontrelle has had a fairly weak team backing him up even if they are playing far beyond expectations. Last season Willis was the Winningest Pitcher in Baseball.

Before the first pitch of this Season

Everyone knew there was no chance of DW repeating that record.

Still this was Willis’ 10th win of the 2006 season which means he has double digit wins in all 4 MLB seasons. This was his 8th career SHUTOUT, 4th complete game of the year and 15th of his young career. Way above the MLB Average.

Sunday he added to the quality of his SHUTOUT with a career high 12 Strikeouts. Dontrelle has also now pitched over 200 innings for the second year in a row. On and on and on. Lots of good stats. To prove his Worth.

Here is the Point

You can’t separate the Pitcher from the Team. IF Willis was pitching for the Mets or God forbid the Evil Steinbrenner Yankees, Detroit Tigers, etc. it is not a stretch to predict he would be closing in on another 20 game V season. And be in the hunt once again for the Cy Young Award. If only Dreams come true.

Is Dontrelle Willis

A Victim of Fate

YES and NO. Just like you. It was because of the profile of the Marlins that Willis made it to the Majors when he did – probably earlier than had he been with any other teams – and he made the most of it. As Fate would have it winning the World Championship his first MLB season. Something lots of players go their entire careers without ever Achieving. Not Dontrelle.

He’s got the Ring.

The inherent Flip Side is that he works for a Dysfunctional Organization that has him to a Long Term Contract taking him out of the Free Agent Market when he could pretty much be naming his price and sign with a club with Long Term Pennant prospects. Instead of a Team that last year proved it could have been a Contender this year, and then management gutted it. Instead.

As for Ryan Howard

and Dontrelle Willis

and their Showdown

In fact Howard acquitted himself very well in that he went 2 for 3 got 2 of the 3 Philly hits off Dontrelle and Ryan drove his average up to .316 still out of range of the Batting Title to add to his likely HR and RBI Crowns but proving he is going to be one of the most consistent Triple Crown Threats ever.

From Dontrelle’s perspective

He is one of the few pitchers Howard did not manage to Go Long on, and Ryan’s 2 hits were ultimately meaningless and did nothing to deter Dontrelle from his impressive SHUTOUT. They will probably match up again this season.

The question is would you bet against Howard Homering off Willis again if they do confront each other again this season ? One thing for sure there are likely to be many many Howard vs. Willis matchups over the next decade.

In fact those At Bats might become High Drama all by themselves and become an integral part of the Growing Reputation of both. One thing that is hard to deny that Howard as a Hitter and Willis as a Pitcher are The Defining African Americans in Baseball today. That’s what’s Most Important.

For right now

Dontrelle has Bested

Ryan Howard but

this is just

The Beginning of

A Wonderful Confrontation

on the Baseball Diamond

Black on Black

Sports Excitement

Batter Up

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