Results tagged ‘ Carlos Ruiz ’

New Faces, Mayberry and Chooch

Quite a bit of turnover this week, huh?

Gone from the roster are Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, Brian Sanches and Erik Kratz. Laynce Nix landed on the DL, but we’ll throw him in there, too. Replacing them are Cliff LeeJake Diekman, Raul Valdes, Hector Luna and Mike Fontenot.

There are no major trades to be made in early May, so the Phillies front office tweaked a few things in hopes of improving the bullpen and providing a spark to the bench. Although it goes without saying Nix is the biggest loss of that bunch. He is hitting .326 with a .979 OPS.

The most intriguing name of the recent arrivals (not including Lee) is Diekman. The Phillies love his potential and he put up great numbers in Triple-A. If he can handle the promotion and the adjustment to big-league hitters, he could have an impact on the bullpen like Mike Stutes had last season.

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I’m off this weekend, but Paul Hagen is covering the series. Here’s his game story from last night’s victory over San Diego.

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John Mayberry Jr. was hitting .175 on April 22. He is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with two doubles, one home run and four RBIs since. It would be a tremendous lift for the lineup if he can get going.

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Carlos Ruiz is third among big-league catchers in home runs (six), first in RBIs (22), first in batting average (.340), third in on-base percentage (.381) and first in slugging (.606). If Ruiz keeps this up he could be headed to his first All-Star Game.

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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:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del., 2:00 p.m.

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Cover Your Eyes

Freddy Galvis has no reason to hang his head. He has played brilliant defense, and is hitting .214 with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs through 17 games. Those five extra-base hits are tied with Carlos Ruiz for the team lead. Not bad for a guy that had just 121 at-bats above Double-A Reading before this season.

It’s the rest of the offense that has played terribly.

That is why the Phillies clung to the five runs they scored in the ninth inning in last night’s 9-5 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Charlie Manuel called it a morale booster.

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Chase Utley would not offer a timetable for his return, but I would not be surprised if he is back before June 1. He returned to action on May 23 last season, and Utley sure seemed pleased with his progress when we talked to him yesterday. We asked Charlie Manuel if Utley could play some first base upon his return, especially if Ryan Howard is still on the DL. Manuel would not rule out the possibility, but he did not say it was something he was considering, either.

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Wigginton Leads the Way

The Phillies mixed in three doubles and four walks and scored eight runs in yesterday’s victory over the Mets.

Can they keep it up against Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain this week in San Francisco?

Ty Wigginton hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a three-run double in the eighth inning yesterday. Elias Sports Bureau found that Wigginton, who made his big-league debut for the Mets in 2002, is the third ex-Met to record 4 or more RBIs in a Phillies uniform in a game against the Mets. Gregg Jefferies had four in 1995, and Ricky Otero had five in the last game of the 1996 season.

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Polanco Wins Gold Glove

Placido Polanco won a Gold Glove tonight.

Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz were finalists, but lost to Matt Kemp and Yadier Molina, respectively.

Polanco is just the second player in baseball history to win Gold Gloves at two different positions. He won twice as a second baseman with Detroit in 2007 and 2009 before winning as a third baseman this year with the Phillies. Darin Erstad won as an outfielder with the Angels in 2000 and 2002 before winning at first base in 2004.

More on Francisco’s Matt Stairs Moment

Courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau, here are a couple more nuggets regarding Ben Francisco‘s pinch-hit three-run home run last night:

It is the first time in postseason history a pinch-hitter has had three or more RBIs, accounting for all of his team’s runs. Only one pinch-hitter had two RBIs, accounting for all of his team’s runs: Kansas City’s Dane Iorg against the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. That’s otherwise known as the “Don Denkinger Game.”

Francisco hit because Cardinals manager Tony La Russa intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz to face him. Since 2000, there have been five lead-changing postseason home runs following an intentional walk.

La Russa has been victim of three of them:

  • San Francisco’s Benito Santiago in Game 4 of the 2002 NLCS. He intentionally walked Barry Bonds.
  • Houston’s Jeff Kent in Game 5 of the 2004 NLCS. He intentionally walked Lance Berkman.
  • Francisco in Game 2 of the 2011 NLDS. He intentionally walked Ruiz.

Now, I’m not going to say it was crazy La Russa intentionally walked Ruiz to face Francisco. La Russa said Ruiz “terrorizes” them, which is a bit of an exaggeration. But Ruiz has hit the Cardinals well. He has hit .310 with eight doubles, two homers, 13 RBIs and an .818 OPS in 33 regular-season games against St. Louis, although he was hitless in the first two games of the NLDS. But his OPS is 68 points higher than his career average. And Francisco was 1-for-18 in his postseason career, 1-for-9 against Jamie Garcia and hadn’t homered since May 25.

But Francisco certainly remembered his last at-bat against Garcia on Sept.16 at Citizens Bank Park, when he crushed a sinker to the warning track in left field. He felt good stepping into the batter’s box against Garcia, and this time he had results to show for it.

The Magic Number Keeps Dropping

Got some magic numbers for you:

  • Clinch a postseason berth: 2.
  • Clinch fifth consecutive National League East championship: 7.
  • Clinch home-field advantage throughout postseason: 8.

Talk about a bad week for the Brewers. They no longer have the second-best record in the league (Arizona does), which means if the season ended today they would play the Phillies in the NLDS. The Phillies have won six consecutive games against the Braves and Brewers and took 2 of 3 from Arizona at home in August (and that one loss came when Roy Halladay blew the only ninth-inning lead of his career). Not sure anybody wants to play the Phillies right now.

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Carlos Ruiz is one tough dude. When Buster Posey broke his ankle during a collision at the plate earlier this season, folks asked him if he thought the rules should be changed to protect the catcher. He said no. If you play the position you have to love everything about the position. And that includes getting your body crushed on a play at the plate.

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Looks Like the Old Oswalt

It’s just one start, but it felt last night like the Phillies were getting the band back together:

The Four Aces.

The Rotation.

Roy Oswalt dominated in a 5-0 victory over the Nationals. His fastball touched 94 mph in the early innings and it averaged 92.2 mph for the night. That’s quite an improvement, considering his fastball averaged 90.9 mph from the time he hit the DL for the first time this season in early May and landed on it a second time in late June.

“He’s back,” Cole Hamels said. “I think that’s pretty much it. He’s back. When he has the velocity you know it’s game time.”

“The way he threw the ball,” Jimmy Rollins said, “vintage Roy. He had that little fastball that he shoots from his chest and by the time the batter swings it’s shoulder height. I was excited, man. His velocity was super. I was looking up and he was hitting 93 still late in the game. I was like, ‘Wow. And he was letting it go.’ You could tell he was confident in his back and in his arm.”

“His fastball had more life,” Carlos Ruiz said. “You could see a lot of swings and misses. The ball was moving (up). That was him, you know? He hit 93, 94. It’s good. You can see he was healthy. That’s the best start. He likes to compete, but when you’re hurt it’s hard. You could see it. He’s quiet, but you could see it in his face and body language. Something was wrong. He didn’t feel OK. Now I know he’s healthy.” <p>

If Oswalt is feeling like himself again – he had 15 swings and misses, 10 of them on fastballs – that is good news for the rotation and this team’s chances in October. Think about it. While most playoff teams will be debating whether or not to pitch their ace on short rest, the Phillies could have four well-rested aces pitching on regular or extra rest.

It would be a nice problem to have.

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Chooch Makes SI

Carlos Ruiz makes the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Despite Crazy Plays, A Familiar Theme in Loss

It’s not every day you see sideways rain at Citizens Bank Park.

The rain turned out to be one of the least interesting things that happened in last night’s 4-3 loss to the Cubs in 11 innings.

Ryan Madson blew his first save in 15 opportunities. Instant replay overturned one of Madson’s home runs, which kept the game tied. (If you’re a fan sitting in the front row don’t you have to say to yourself, “OK, I’m in the front row. If there’s a ball coming my way I should probably back out of the way because I don’t want to become Philly’s version of Steve Bartman?”) David Herndon hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th. (He struck out.) Carlos Ruiz had a rare passed ball to allow the winning run to move to second base in the 11th. Herndon fired a ball into center field on a pickoff attempt, but Tyler Colvin did not advance to third on the play. Placido Polanco had a rare throwing error to allow the winning run to score with two outs.

All sorts of nutiness, but once again the offense came up short. The Phillies did not score after Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer in the second inning. They were hitless from the fifth through ninth innings.

Madson blew the save and Herndon took the loss, but the offense continued its struggles.

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Ruiz, Utley Look OK; Oswalt’s Fastball? Not There

Nothing is official, but I think we know a few things from last night’s Class A Clearwater game:

  • Expect Carlos Ruiz to be activated from the DL today.
  • Chase Utley continues to move in a straight line. He homered last night. He’s getting closer. (Late next week, maybe?)
  • Roy Oswalt didn’t have his fastball, which could indicate he is not ready to rejoin the rotation Tuesday in St. Louis, although we’ll hopefully learn more today. “He normally throws a lot of fastballs, normally 93,94 (mph), and today he said he doesn’t feel good, with the fastball, more like 89, 90,” Ruiz said. “The first couple of innings, fastball cut, not too much life in his fastball.  In the last couple of innings, better, better location, he was throwing more breaking balls because he was thinking the fastball’s not there.  When he is on, he’s not afraid to throw his fastball on any count, today it was a little different.  It was a lot of fastball cut, the location was not there that’s why we threw more changeups, curveballs, sliders.” Of course, Oswalt could be perfectly healthy. He just could’ve been disinterested in letting loose in a Class A game. We’ll see.

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