Carlos Ruiz has very quietly been one of the best catchers in baseball over the past several years. Calling games for guys like Roy Halladay, catching no hitter’s and backing his team with key hits, Chooch never seems to get the credit he deserves.
But Phillies fans know that Chooch is the man. Last night Ruiz helped pitcher Joe Blanton get through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs and striking out 8 batters. Blanton looked really sharp and Ruiz was his usual, awesome self.
Leading the team with 3 RBI in the 5-2 victory over the Cubs, Ruiz also showed his toughness. After getting nailed in the knee with a foul ball in the 6th inning and writhing in pain, only minutes later, Ruiz smashed a home run to left to add an insurance run for the Phillies. There is nothing this guy would not do for his team.
The 2 hits by Ruiz were key in the game, as the Phillies had only 4 other hits for a total of 6 in the game. 3 of the remaining 4 hits were doubles, including a 2-run shot by Jimmy Rollins. After an awful start to the season, we can only hope that hit gets J-Roll rolling again.
Manager Charlie Manuel shuffled the line-up last night with Rollins in the lead-off spot. But aside from the 1 hit, the change of scenery did not help much and Juan Pierre is doing very well in that spot. Pierre will likely return to the top of the line-up today. But do expect several more line-up shake-ups as Manuel tinkers to find something that works for this offense.
Also of note last night was Jim Thome leaving the game early with back soreness. Batting only .111 in 18 at-bats so far, this is going to raise more questions about whether or not Thome can still be a productive player this late in his career. Currently, Thome is listed as day-to-day.
Game 3 with the Cubs starts this afternoon at 1:35pm. See you at the game!
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Ruiz Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography