When he wasn't manning first base, Ryan Howard saddled up next to his manager during Wednesday night's game at Nationals Park. The two were chatting about Charlie Manuel's favorite subject.

"We were talking about his hitting, and how he felt," Manuel said.

Howard is not feeling all that great at the plate and his manager decided to give him a mental day away from the game. After starting 11 straight games, Howard was held out of Thursday's starting lineup.

Howard was 2-for-18 (.111) with 12 strikeouts in the first five games of the road trip.