… and how about Beerleaguer favorite Rich Thompson?
Before we get into the over-.500 Phillies, what a terrific national story in Rich Thompson, the 33-year-old, Reading-born outfielder who was in his sixth season in the Phillies' chain before Wednesday's trade that sent him to the Rays. Thompson, who grew up in Montrose, Pa., had only made one career Major League plate appearance, a cup of joe back in 2004 with the Royals, and he grounded into a double play. Eight years, 2,944 days and 3,710 minor-league plate appearances later, he got another chance, and made the most of it. He was inserted into the Rays starting lineup, and not only got his first hit, but collected his first RBI, and swiped a pair of bags. Thompson got to keep the ball, and to the urging of David Price from the Rays' dugout, was encouraged to remove the second base bag and parade it around in triumph. Watch the highlight here. Great, great story.
Now to the Phils. Great story there, too. Roy Halladay was rewarded his first win in ages and Carlos Ruiz kept up his all-world pace. It's borderline absurd the season he's having. He's up to .363/.405/.619 after his 4-for-5 performance Thursday, enough to thrust him into the conversation among the best players in the entire league. Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp, David Wright, Brian LaHair, Joey Votto, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Paul Konerko … these are your MLB OPS leaders ahead of Chooch. One difference: they exist primarily to hit, while Chooch lords over his game and that of the pitcher.