While I’m hardly gonna put my head on the chopping block by doubting the clutchitude of David Ortiz (since when is a link from Deadspin some kind of seal of credibility?), Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard (above) is inching ever closer to that Papi/Pujols rarified air. Howard hit a two-run HR to right field tonight against Atlanta, his 39th of the year in the Phillies’ 9-6 win. Brett Myers had a fairly lousy night, but was bailed out by a combination of heavy run support plus strong middle relief from Ryan Madson. Also, Bill Giles has it on good authority none of the Braves bats actually touched Myers’ pitches — it was blown out of proportion by pressure groups, people actually watching the game, etc.

Abraham Nunez (0 for 3, two runs scored) has the honor of being dubbed “one of the worst semi-regulars in baseball history” by Mike Carminati.

Nunez is batting .159 with a .221 on-base percentage, .219 slugging average, and .440 OPS. He has one home run and just eight RBI in his 151 ABs. And Nunez, a .242 career hitter, shows no real signs of breaking out of his funk. Since inheriting the starting third base job just before the trade deadline he is batting .143 an his OPS has remained at .440.

If Nunez remains the regular third baseman for the rest of the season”eh, why not?”He will surely accumulate between 250 and 300 at-bats for the year. Even though one would assume that the extra at-bats would help Nunez slip free of his noose, there are just 15 men in baseball history who have accumulated 250 ABs and batted under .159, his current average. The last man who batted as low as Nunez (min. 250 ABs) was almost sixty years ago: Les Moss, who batted .157 in 174 at-bats in 1947. And the last time before that was 1909.

The last player with an OBP as low as Nunez (250 ABs) was Angel Salazar (.219) in 1987. The last who slugged that low was in 1980 (Luis Gomez, .239). Finally, no player has had an OPS as low as Nunez in 38 years, in 1968, the year of the pitcher. That year there were two (Al Weis, .438, and Irish Mike Ryan, .434). Prior to that no player had an OPS of .440 or below (min. 250 ABs) since 1909.

Abe O. has just 8 RBI on the year, which projects to 14 over the course of the rest of the season. There are just ten players in baseball history with 250 at-bats and eight RBI or fewer, the last being Luis Castillo (with 8) in 1997. 147 have recorded 14 or less, the last being John McDonald in 2002 (12 RBI).

Ryan Franklin, DFA’d by the Phillies last week, can now lose his edge in Cincinnati, having been traded today for cash and the ever popular player to be named later.

As long as the Cardinals can score 13 or more runs in each of his starts, there is no reason why Wevie Stonder I doesn’t have what it takes to be a winning pitcher in the National League.

Lt. Dangle (above) has homered in his first game back from the disabled list, as the Dodgers lead the Rockies, 4-1 at Chavez Ravine. Other than a Garrett Atkins HR, Brad Penny has looked pretty sharp through 5 innings, so expect a Bill Plashke column tomorrow giving Gregg Maddux most of the credit.

Seattle’s Raul Ibanez just connected for a 2-run HR off Tim Corcoran, putting the Mariners in front of the D-Rays, 5-4 (top of the 6th). Earlier, Adrian Beltre belted a 2-run shot to center off Corcoran, plating Jose Lopez (3 for 3) in the process

Taking a peak at MLB’s ballot for the ridiculous “Comeback Player Of The Year Award”, an honor already besmirched by the Giambino last year, a couple of thoughts come to mind :

a) shouldn’t they have waited for Nomar to, y’know, comeback from the disabled list before announcing his nomination? Given that Garciaparra is eligible for this dubious award based on his frequent injury woes, wouldn’t it make sense to be certain he’s actually back? Even Grant Hill thinks this was premature.

b) with all due respect to Carlos Beltran — the NL MVP if the Mets could play all their games on the road — where’s Jose Valentin? Or could it be that the award’s sponsors are amongst the few who really know what is going on with Valetin’s unlikely career resurrection?