Results tagged ‘ Carlos Ruiz ’

Bad Weekend, Bad Signs

That couldn’t have gone much worse, huh?

The Phillies entered this weekend’s series against the Astros as the hottest team in baseball, but lost three of four to the worst team in baseball. They’re back under .500 and four behind the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race with 15 games to play. I’m not going to say it’s impossible to make the postseason, but …

  • Even if the Cardinals finish just 7-8 they will be 84-78.
  • The Phillies would need to finish 11-4 just to tie. That means they would have to win two of three in four of their remaining five series, and sweep the fifth.
  • And that only works if the Cardinals stumble and the Dodgers, Brewers or Pirates (unlikely) don’t outplay them.

The Cardinals play their next nine games against the Astros and Cubs, while the Phillies have nine of their final 12 games against the Braves and Nationals. And again, don’t forget the Dodgers, Brewers and Pirates are between the Cardinals and Phillies in the standings.

Maybe a bad weekend against the Astros shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. The Phillies had been on a great run, but we saw many of the holes this team had showed the first four months of the season:

  • An inconsistent offense. The Phillies were 5-for-31 (.161) with runners in scoring position in their three losses against the Astros. Three of the top four hitters in their lineup are hitting no better than .254: Chase Utley (.254), Jimmy Rollins (.252) and Ryan Howard (.229). The Phillies have some offensive holes to fill in the offseason, but I’m sure they’ll be expecting Rollins, Utley and Howard to sit atop their lineup in 2013. That is not entirely comforting. The Phillies can talk about injuries and bounce back seasons for Utley and Howard, but it is far from a lock they will completely rebound. The numbers for those three players have been in decline the last few years anyway. Howard’s OPS has dropped every year since his MVP year in 2006, except 2009. Utley’s OPS this season (.815) is up from last year, but it’s still his second lowest since he became an everyday player in 2005. Rollins’ OPS (.740) is up four points from last season, but overall he hasn’t approached his numbers from 2004-07. Now, taking these players individually it doesn’t look that bad. Rollins ranks 7th out of 21 qualifying shortstops in baseball in OPS. Utley would rank third among qualifying second baseman. Howard has 46 RBIs in 61 games. That is 122 RBIs over a 162-game season, although his .715 OPS  would rank 16th out of 21 first basemen. But the Phillies are averaging just 4.11 runs per game since Howard rejoined the team July 6, which ranks 12th in the National League. Just because those three compare favorably with other players at their positions doesn’t mean this offense is in great shape. That’s because they don’t have a player to truly anchor the middle of the lineup, like Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, etc. Carlos Ruiz has a .949 OPS this season, but it would be dangerous to expect him to replicate those numbers next season and beyond. Plus, he has never had more than 410 at-bats in a season. If Utley had enough plate appearances to qualify, he’d have the second-best OPS on the team behind Ruiz, but it would rank just 64th out of 202 big-league players. It’s tough to score consistently when the three highest paid hitters in the lineup aren’t hitting .260.
  • A leaky bullpen. Phillies relievers had a 5.25 ERA against the Astros, allowing 12 hits, 10 runs (seven earned runs), seven walks and one hit batter in 12 innings. The Phillies struck out 13 batters in those innings, showing they have good “stuff,” but they still don’t have the consistency they need to be relied upon.
  • Starters. Roy Halladay is 4-0 in his last six starts, but also has a 4.70 ERA. That’s just not the quality one expects from Halladay. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said weeks ago it would take Halladay a long time to lose the bad habits he picked up while pitching with a strained right back muscle earlier this season. But considering the mileage on Halladay’s arm and his age, it is not unfair to wonder what kind of pitcher the Phillies will be getting next season. I would never bet against Halladay, but it also is tough to just say, “He’ll absolutely be the old Doc next year.”

Chooch Is Back

Carlos Ruiz is back, but it remains to be seen how much he will play.

Ruiz had been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot before the Phillies activated him today. The Phillies plan to ease back Ruiz slowly, using him as a pinch-hitter this weekend before working him in as a defensive replacement. He could start once or twice a week once he gets comfortable.

“We definitely want to be careful with him,” Charlie Manuel said. “What he’s got is something that if he’s on his feet for a long time, if he’s moving a lot, he gets real tight.”

But the Phillies said there is little risk playing Ruiz the remainder of the season.

“If it was going to hurt him, we wouldn’t do it,” Manuel said. “But they feel like it’s not going to hurt him.”

Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock concurred.

“I think we’re very comfortable with the fact that I don’t think he’s going to do any further damage,” he said. “But he hasn’t played so I think it’s just something that we’re going to … hopefully he can come out and contribute a little bit and get back in a rhythm and be ready to go for next year. I think it’s important that he gets back out on the field.”

And why is that?

“I think for him, and I think he still has a chance to help us,” Proefrock said. “As long of a shot as it is, we’re not out of this. He can contribute. He’s an important part of our offense.”

Said Ruiz: “I know everybody was concerned that maybe I was done for the year, but I was thinking that I would try really hard to come back because I want to finish. Now I’m happy that I got activated. I’m ready to go. I want to finish the season. I want to go home happy. I told myself I have to finish playing and then relax and be ready for next year. I was really sad in last six weeks. Now I have the chance to get back in the lineup.”

Could Chooch Sit Rest of Season?

For the first four months of the season, Carlos Ruiz played as the undisputed MVP of the Phillies.

But then Ruiz suffered an injury to his left foot in July. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 3. Ruiz has been running every other day to test the foot, but Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ruiz spoke yesterday about the possibility he finish the season on the disabled list rather than return and possibly reinjure himself.

“Definitely, if I want to come back, I want to make sure I’m 100 percent,” Ruiz said before today’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. “I don’t want to come back and the injury happens again. I don’t try to push it too much. Just taking it nice and easy with my running. If I feel something, stop. But so far I feel real good. It’ll be a little hard. It’s not completely gone. I still feel just a little bit.”

But Ruiz said he understands Amaro’s thinking on this.

“I got his point,” he said. “At the same time, I feel like I have to try. I have to try until the last day. It’s not like I’m going to give up. But yeah, I got his point. We’ll see. He said there is no pressure to come back. Try to be 100 percent and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Ruiz to DL, Expected to Miss 4-6 Weeks

Just another blow for the Phillies in a season full of misfortune.

They announced Saturday morning Carlos Ruiz, who is the team’s MVP if the season ended today, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

A MRI revealed a partial tear in the foot. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Phillies recalled Hector Luna to take Ruiz’s spot on the roster. Brian Schneider and Erik Kratz will handle the team’s catching duties into September.

Ruiz was having the best season of his career. He was hitting .335 with 28 doubles, 14 home runs, 58 RBIs, a .399 on-base percentage, a .559 slugging percentage and a .959 OPS. He already set career-highs in home runs and RBIs. He ranked fourth in the National League in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage and sixth in OPS.

Unfortunately for Ruiz, he will not finish the season with enough plate appearances to qualify among the league leaders in those categories.

Ruiz will be reevaluated in two weeks. The foot has been bothering him for at least a couple weeks, but he thought he could manage it.

Ruiz, Hamels, Papelbon Are NL All-Stars

Chooch made it.

Major League Baseball announced its All-Star Game rosters this afternoon and Carlos Ruiz made the National League team as a reserve.

It would have been a shock had Ruiz not made the roster. He entered Sunday leading baseball in batting average (.358). He also ranked third in on-base percentage (.423), eighth in slugging percentage (.585) and fourth in OPS (1.008).

It is a special moment for Ruiz, who is one of the most popular players in the Phillies clubhouse, because he made the All-Star team for the first time.

Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon also made the team.

Hamels is 10-4 with a 3.08 ERA. He is tied for fourth in the Majors in wins. It is his third All-Star appearance. He also made the team in 2007 and 2011. Papelbon is 2-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 18 saves in 19 opportunities. He is tied for eighth in the Majors in saves. It is Papelbon’s fifth All-Star Game, and first with the Phillies. He made the American League All-Star team with the Boston Red Sox from 2006-09.

But Ruiz is the player Phillies fans wanted to see in Kansas City on July 10. He has been one of the very few bright spots for the Phillies this season, giving them a reason to cheer as the Phillies sit in last place in the National League East.

Pinch Me …

Carlos Ruiz emerged from a back room in the Phillies clubhouse late tonight with a smile on his face.

He came to a stop and leaned against the red countertop in the middle of the room, where a reporter informed him that he is “leading the world” in hitting after going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in tonight’s 5-4 victory over the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Ruiz is hitting .361, which leads the big leagues.

“Come on,” Ruiz said in disbelief.

“Yeah, you’re leading the world.”

“Let me see,” Ruiz said, trying to sneak a glance at the reporter’s notebook.

“You are. Trust me.”

Ruiz chuckled.

The reporter repeated that Ruiz is leading the big leagues in batting. He asked Ruiz if he pinches himself. Ruiz thought about it, pinched his left arm and smiled.

“That’s me,” he joked.

Ruiz is a distant third in All-Star voting for National League catchers, but he should earn his first trip to the All-Star Game. He left the ballpark Tuesday first in the league in batting average (.361), second in OPS (1.006), third in on-base percentage (.427) and fifth in slugging percentage (.579).

He singled to score Hunter Pence from third in the first inning to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He singled and scored on Ty Wigginton’s two-run homer in the third to take a 4-1 lead. He then homered in the eighth inning on a 0-2 pitch from Juan Cruz to make it 5-3.

It was Ruiz’s 10th homer of the season, which is a career high.

Chooooch.

“When you feel good at home plate you can find out the way they’re going to pitch to you,” Ruiz said. “I feel great and that’s a big thing.”

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From Elias Sports Bureau: Ruiz went 3-for-4 with two hits on 0-2 pitches, including a home run. Ruiz had been 1-for-19 on 0-2 pitches this season. He hadn’t had two 0-2 hits in one game since May 31, 2011 and he hadn’t hit an 0-2 homer since last April 9.

Jimmy Rollin’

Jimmy Rollins had the green light in the fourth inning last night.

Why wouldn’t he?

He’s swinging one of the hottest bats in baseball. He took Jeff Karstens‘ 3-0 fastball and crushed it to right field for a two-run home run in last night’s 8-3 victory over the Pirates. Rollins is hitting .343 with 10 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 18 RBIs, 21 runs scored and a 1.043 OPS in 25 games since May 28. He is 12th in the big leagues in hitting in that span. He is tied for third in doubles and runs scored, tied for eighth in homers, ninth in slugging percentage (.664), 11th in OPS and tied for 15th in RBIs.

Rollins was hitting .224 with a .282 on-base percentage and a .276 slugging percentage on May 28. I said at the time that Charlie Manuel would/should stick with Rollins as his leadoff hitter — less than two months of a six-month season is not enough time to cost somebody his job, especially somebody who has had that job for the past decade like Rollins — but I began to wonder if that move would be just around the corner. Rollins hadn’t looked like the same player to me. But now he looks better than he has looked in a long time. Now, it’s only been a month, but he’s showing he can still be a dangerous hitter, a guy capable of carrying a team for a stretch. I’m sure the front office needed that reassurance after signing him to a three-year, $33 million contract in the offseason.

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From Elias Sports Bureau: From Elias: Carlos Ruiz went 3-for-5, scored three runs and stole a base last night. Ruiz is the first Phillies catcher to score three times and record a stolen base since Bobby Estalella did it against the Mets on Sept. 29, 1996.

No Love for Chooch

MLB released its first All-Star voting update and Carlos Ruiz ranks fourth among NL catchers.

Fourth.

  1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,100,048
  2. Buster Posey, Giants: 1,072,464
  3. Brian McCann, Braves: 707,508
  4. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 562,021

Ruiz is hitting .368 with a .416 on-base percentage, .600 slugging percentage and a 1.016 OPS. Ruiz is just short of plate appearances to qualify, but if he had enough he would lead the majors in hitting, rank fifth in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging and fifth in OPS.

That’s among every player in baseball, not just NL catchers.

I’m guessing the Phillies’ disappointing start to the season has caused some apathy among the fan base. I’m not necessarily surprised Ruiz isn’t leading. I’m just surprised he’s getting crushed, nearly 450,000 votes behind Molina.

Where’s Chooch?

Something interesting happened today that you might have missed.

Carlos Ruiz is no longer among baseball’s leaders in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. Ruiz did not start this week against the Mets because of a strained right hamstring, so he fell out of qualifying status for those categories. To qualify, a hitter needs to average 3.1 plate appearances per team game. The Phillies have played 52 games. So doing a little math …

52 x 3.1 = 161.2

Ruiz has 161 plate appearances.

So Ruiz fell out of the rankings by just .2 plate appearance.

It shows how difficult it can be for catchers to finish the season among the league leaders. It’s a grueling position. Hitters need 502 plate appearances at the end of the season to qualify for those categories. Ruiz has never had more than 472 in a season. I expect Ruiz back among the leaders as early as tomorrow, when he is expected to start against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. For what it’s worth, if Ruiz had 162 plate appearances, which would make him a qualifier, he would rank third in the majors in batting (.371), fifth in on-base percentage (.422), sixth in slugging percentage (.615) and fourth in OPS (1.038). In the National League he would rank second, fourth, second and second, respectively.

Courtesy of Zoo With Roy.

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Looking for a Father’s Day Gift? Jim Salisbury and I are signing copies of The Rotation this Saturday from 3-4 p.m. on the Main Concourse at Citizens Bank Park.

Doc, Doctor

Roy Halladay is scheduled to see a doctor at some point somewhere today.

As soon as we hear anything we will let you know.

Like I said in my previous post, I would be surprised if Halladay is not placed on the DL. He has been struggling for a month, and it seems quite possible he has not felt right since spring training. He has soreness in his right shoulder, and shoulders are nothing to mess with. I suppose the best-case scenario is that it’s some inflammation that requires a little rest.

Worst-case scenario … well, we’re talking torn rotator cuff.

For what it’s worth, here’s what Cole Hamels said yesterday about Halladay’s injury: “He’s a battler. Shoot, he’s had more work than anybody in this game. If you can go out every season and pitch 250 innings, he’s the best. It’s just one of those things where I think the team is trying to be cautious. He works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, so he’s going to get back out there as fast as he can to help the team. I don’t think it’s too serious, because I play catch with him every day.”

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Erik Kratz is headed to New York in case Carlos Ruiz (tightness in his right hamstring) needs to be placed on the DL, as Allentown’s Jeff Schuler first reported.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • SATURDAY: Citizens Bank Park, 3–4 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

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