Ruiz in comfort zone when he bats second

Posted: August 21, 2014

When Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins got the night off Monday in a 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, Carlos Ruiz took his place in the batting order and looked comfortable in the No. 2 hole.

Ruiz went 0 for 2 but drew walks in his first three at-bats and scored the Phillies' first run.

This season as the No. 2 hitter, Ruiz is batting .269 but has a .437 on-base percentage in 87 plate appearances. He has drawn 14 walks, scored 12 runs and has an .840 OPS.

Ruiz is obviously comfortable batting high in the order.

"It is a little different hitting second, but I try to take the same approach whether I am hitting second or seventh," Ruiz said before Tuesday's game against the Mariners. "For some reason when I am hitting second, I work a lot of counts."

With Rollins back in the lineup, Ruiz was again hitting seventh. Entering the game, Ruiz was hitting .218 with a .286 on-base percentage in 152 plate appearances batting seventh. Overall, he was hitting .258.

Manager Ryne Sandberg said he likes Ruiz's patience as the No. 2 hitter.

"It has been a good option for him and ironically he has drawn a lot of walks in that spot for whatever reason," Sandberg said. "The two spot, pitchers tend not to want to walk the leadoff or No. 2 guys with the meat of the order coming up."

When asked if he thought about using Ruiz more in the No. 2 hole, Sandberg seemed reluctant.

"It has crossed my mind, but Jimmy happens to be a situational guy, and with the lefthanded bat [he] uses the hole," Sandberg said. "His base running is real good in the two spot when he gets on base."

That's a valid point: Ruiz runs like a catcher and Rollins entered the game with 24 stolen bases.

Ruiz said the key is trying to stay consistent regardless of his place in the order.

"I like [hitting] second," he said. "But wherever I am hitting, I will do my best."

Lefty matchup

Seattle lefthander James Paxton (3-0, 2.20 ERA) will face one of baseball's best lefties, Cole Hamels, in the series finale Wednesday at 1:05 p.m.

Hamels (6-6, 2.44) was fifth in the National League in ERA through Monday's games. That tells only part of the story.

After missing the season's first three weeks with left biceps tendinitis, Hamels allowed 13 earned runs in his first 162/3 innings (7.04 ERA), covering three starts.

Since then, Hamels has a 1.87 ERA in his last 19 starts. Opponents are batting .212 in that span.

Around the bases

Darin Ruf, hitting .583 in his last four starts, was not in the starting lineup Tuesday. Righthanders were hitting .196 against Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma, prompting Sandberg to sit Ruf. . . . When Jerome Williams won for the Phillies on Monday, he became the fifth pitcher in the last 60 years to register at least one win for three major-league teams in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Williams posted wins for Houston and Texas this year. The others: Ray Sadecki (1975), Dock Ellis (1977), Steve Carlton (1986) and David Weathers (2004).

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