October 1, 2013 |
ATLANTA - Phillies team president David Montgomery made his way through the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field yesterday morning, sending well wishes to his players. He stopped and chatted with veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz for several minutes. He shook hands with Ruiz twice. It's likely neither man wanted to say goodbye. Ruiz was not in the starting lineup for yesterday's season finale against the Braves while nursing a sore left hand. For the second straight day, he was held out of action completely.
September 30, 2013 |
ATLANTA - Carlos Ruiz pointed at his left palm with his right hand to illustrate the damage. The area under his index finger swelled as the result of a bone bruise from catching. "Sometimes the ball keeps hitting me in the same spot, over and over and over," Ruiz said. "It hurts real bad. Rest is going to be very important. But at the same time, if it feels great . . . " He paused. The injury prevented him from playing Saturday, but Sunday means something. It could be Ruiz's final game in a Phillies uniform if he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
September 27, 2013 |
MIAMI - If it seems like a new baseball stat is invented every day, it's probably because it might be true. While perusing the statistical database of one popular sports website, the stat "tough loss" was uncovered. It's awarded to a pitcher who earns both a loss and a quality start (six or more innings, no more than three earned runs) in the same game. Cole Hamels entered the final start of his 2013 season leading the National League in tough losses, with seven. After giving up two runs quickly last night in Miami, and watching his teammates struggle to muster any offense yet again, Hamels appeared to be headed toward Tough Loss No.8.
September 26, 2013 |
MIAMI - There was but one out recorded in Game 157 when the home bullpen phone rang at Marlins Park. It was audible Tuesday to the entire stadium, a mausoleum for two failed teams that are staggering to the finish line unceremoniously. The Phillies won, 2-1, ending a five-game losing streak while sending Miami to its 100th loss for the first time since 1998. The signs of exasperation are abundant. The Phillies twice scored simply because Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez issued three straight first-inning walks.
September 21, 2013 |
The Phillies departed Florida for Philadelphia in April without Carlos Ruiz, and extended spring training became his purgatory during a 25-game drug suspension. Allan Lewis, the Panamanian scout who signed Ruiz for $8,000, called his pupil. He offered support and some advice: Find a young pitcher named Severino Gonzalez at the training complex. "Take care of him," Lewis told Ruiz. Ruiz recalled his first months in America. He spoke little English. His friends were Dominican or Venezuelan.
September 20, 2013 |
A MONTH AGO, Ryne Sandberg wrote out his fourth lineup card since taking over managerial duties and made a somewhat drastic change. Sandberg slotted Carlos Ruiz, who had been hitting in the bottom third of the lineup, into the second spot. "Experimenting," Sandberg said at the time. "I like his ability to use the whole field. He has a good right-center stroke when he's right. " Ruiz, who was coming off a 4-for-4 performance, raising his average from .250 to .265, hasn't slowed down since moving up in the order.
September 18, 2013 |
The shirts were Carlos Ruiz's idea, and many of the Phillies wore them before Cliff Lee pitched Monday. "Whatever," Lee said, although one hung in his locker after a 12-2 rout of Miami. "But I'm Different" was printed below an unflattering photo of Lee at his most aloof. He is different; few pitchers ever live a night like Lee's Monday. "It was," Ryne Sandberg said, "basically his show. " Chase Utley's first home run in nearly a month energized the rout. It was his 17th home run in his 120th game, both highs since 2009.
September 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Hours before the Phillies assembled Saturday in the visitors dugout at Nationals Park, the Cincinnati Reds won a game in Milwaukee. It mathematically eliminated the Phillies from postseason contention, a goal they had long abandoned. More important, it applied further pressure on Washington to secure a victory. The Phillies are not blind to their rivals' status. Before a 5-4 victory, Ryne Sandberg said discussions around the batting cage centered on the Nationals' dying chances at a postseason berth.
September 13, 2013 |
ROY HALLADAY'S first two pitches were out of the strike zone. His third was sent over the rightfield fence at Citizens Bank Park. Of the final five batters Halladay faced last night, four reached base by way of a walk while the other legged out an infield single that Halladay aided with an errant throw to first. Halladay's fourth start since returning from a 3-month layoff from shoulder surgery was, at times, not pretty. His inability to throw a strike in the fifth inning was downright troubling.
September 12, 2013 |
These are the dog days of summer: Zach Miner and Luis Garcia mop up innings while canines roam Citizens Bank Park for the first time ever. A haze descended upon South Philadelphia in the middle innings Tuesday while one mediocre team punished another. Autumn is close. That means the end is near for these Phillies. Nights like an 8-2 loss to San Diego beseech wishes for a rapid final 18 games without injury and further embarrassment. Tyler Cloyd was reinserted into the rotation and lasted all of four innings.