It was a rough, ugly night for the Phillies, and for struggling catcher Carlos Ruiz in particular. After an 0-for-5 night, representative of his sharp decline this month, the Phils may be looking at more than a slump from their rookie catcher.
Ruiz is “0-for-July,” quipped one reader last night. Actually, he’s eight for his last 55 (.145) and hasn’t homered since May 15. Not that it helps. I'll take a gander on what's going on with Chooch, a player I like and watched develop into a Major League player. The Phillies are finding out the 28-year-old is not a full-timer, capable of going wire-to-wire behind the plate, and that’s fine. The team needed to make that discovery. Now they can adjust. They have two other catchers on the roster. Yesterday’s 0-for-5, which dropped his OPS to a season-low .689, should do it. With Kyle Lohse making his Phillies’ debut this afternoon, rest assured it won’t be Ruiz behind the dish, and he may not start the next day. Manager Charlie Manuel has started Rod Barajas in past debuts.
Ruiz stranded eight base-runners, and half of them were Pat Burrell, who reached base four times but did not score. Manuel continues to bat Burrell sixth. Last night, Burrell and his .423 OBP (3rd in NL) lined up in front of Ruiz, Abraham Nunez, Jamie Moyer and Chris Roberson, the worst possible collection of hitters to capitalize on Burrell’s OBP. I just don't understand this.
I’ll take Brett Myers’ word that he needed to make some better pitches in the ninth; I didn't see the inning. After the game, it was reported that Tom Gordon was unavailable due to tightness in his shoulder. The Phillies are now 6-17 in one-run games.