So, we’re now a mere five days from July, well on our way to the All-Star Break, and Carlos Ruiz is batting .361, good for the best average in either league. Overshadowing for the moment the greatness of this increasing sample size, Chooch gave the Phillies the cushion they’d eventually need to beat the Pirates, 5-4, with a home run to lead off the eighth inning on Tuesday night. It was a new career-best 10th long ball on the season.
Ruiz also knocked in the game’s first run, a single that scored Hunter Pence in the first inning, and scored on a two-run Ty Wigginton homer after singling in the third. Back-to-back three-hit games. BEAST. And yet THIRD in All-Star voting for catcher?
In a season during which most other Phillies don’t deserve the cardboard punch-out or 25-at-a-time votes online, Chooch deserves every vote we have (note: that’s actually infinity votes). Maybe the reason he’s so far behind (2,448,942) Buster Posey (3,335,982) and Yadier Molina (3,119,530) is because none of his teammates are pushing the full-team ballot this year, but that makes him even more worthy.
With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard playing a combined zero games to date (soon to change!), Ruiz has stpped up to have his best-ever season so far. Cot 4 Choice…
Placido Polanco had his third straight multi-hit game, bringing his average up to .282. Wigginton had a single in addition to his homer. Hunter Pence tripled in the first and scored on a Chooch single.
Vance Worley threw only six full innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks against five K’s. Worley was relieved in the seventh after allowing a walk, a single, and a chip RBI double.
Michael Schwimer and Antonio Bastardo continued the modest positive trend from the bullpen, each turning in a scoreless inning. Schwimer entered a volatile situation and diffused it with a pair of outs that included a close play at the plate that miiiight have given a should-be All-Star the benefit of the tag at the plate. Bastardo allowed a double, but the Bucs let him off the hook with a failed bunt (caught near the backstop by Chooch), a fly out, and a K.
As the CBP faithful shuffled to the best seats to watch the fireworks display, Jonathan Papelbon stopped everyone in their tracks with a long, one-out homer to Mike McHenry. He didn’t let it get to him though, inducing a fly out and a strike out to take his 18th save in 19 opportunities.
Chase Utley went 2-5 with a home run in his final tuneup at Lehigh Valley. Uts also made a nice play at second, looking sharp. He’ll suit up for the Fightins on Wednesday…
The Phils have announced their spot starter for tomorrow’s game—Raul Valdes will face righty James McDonald.