Bobby’s big hit
Big hits don’t just happen in the late innings. Bobby Abreu proved that yesterday afternoon.
The Phils clobbered the Pirates 12-1, but at the time of Abreu’s clutch two-out, third-inning grand slam, they really needed it. Down 1-0, it was shaping up to be one of those games when nobody steps up. Abreu’s salami sent the Buccos into a tailspin, and it was easy sailing from there.
Abreu has been trying to shed criticism that he’s a good numbers player that doesn’t come through in clutch situations.
Credit Bobby for yesterday’s win, along with starting pitcher Cory Lidle. It was his second seven-inning game in as many tries, and the 11th start in which he didn’t allow a home run.
Bill Conlin’s July 5 column
I’m probably the world’s biggest Carlos Ruiz fan, but I scratch my head at this latest tidbit from Daily News columnist Bill Conlin:
Some people are starting to push for the Phillies to call up Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Carlos Ruiz (Mike Lieberthal is in the middle of a horrid slump and now hitting .232). To replace whom? Mike Lieberthal is healthy and makes lots of guaranteed money. Todd Pratt is one of the league's best backups. Besides, they have the wrong Ruiz. Mammoth Randy Ruiz, a slow-footed career journeyman and designated hitter type, is tearing up the Eastern League for Reading. Carlos Ruiz, a 5-10, 180-pound catcher for the Red Barons, is hitting about .280 with two homers. Good thinking, though...
For those that haven’t followed the Randy Ruiz story here in Reading, the 27-year-old slugger is putting up numbers that mirror Ryan Howard last season. In 69 games, he’s batting .361, with 20 HR, 69 RBI along with a .677 SLG and .409 OBP. There are two significant issues blocking his progress, however.
Rub No. 1: He doesn’t have a position.
Rub No. 2: He’s been suspended twice for violating the league’s banned substance policy.
Ruiz served a fifteen game suspension at the beginning of this season and is facing a 30 game suspension for a second infraction. He is currently appealing the latest test result.
In addition to Ruiz, Josh Carter, an outfielder in Clearwater, and Kyle Allen, a pitcher in Lakewood, have allegedly tested positive for banned substances in the Phillies organization.
As for Carlos Ruiz, known as Chooch by teammates, Conlin’s right. He’s exactly where he should be, learning how to play in Triple-A Scranton. The low home run total Conlin mentioned can be partially blamed on missing significant time with a broken leg, suffered in a home-plate collision with Mike Kinkade. Ruiz is 26, but is still new to the game of baseball, making his professional debut at age 20.
Cole Hamels promoted to Double-A
Left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels is expected to start for the Reading Phillies tomorrow against the Akron Aeros. The 21-year-old is the third best organizational prospect according to Baseball America. It marks his AA debut.
Hamels was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts for Clearwater (A) in the Florida State League. In 16 innings the 21-year old allowed seven hits, five runs, four earned, walked seven and struck out 18. He entered this season with a 7-3 record and a 1.31 ERA in 22 professional starts (117.0 IP/171 SO).
David Bell vs. LHP
Bell is batting .442 against left-handers this season, which leads all of baseball. That includes nine doubles and two home runs, good enough for a .636 SLG. I was oblivious to this stat until Larry Andersen mentioned it yesterday during the broadcast.