Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Chooch Ruiz has rewarded the Phillies' patience with an extremely productive start at the plate this season including the highest OBP of his career and a .354 batting average. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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Cole Hamels lasted long enough Sunday to get the win. There's no truth to the rumor Charlie was eager to yank the lefty after five so Chad Durbin could pitch in front of his mother. Charlie could see the handwriting on the wall and it spelled more trouble if Hamels came out to start the sixth. Sentimentality had nothing to do with it.

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Re-signing Placido Polanco was a smart move. He loves playing here and he brings offensive stability to the position for the first time in many years. When the term "professional hitter" is thrown around in baseball it frequently applies to an aging veteran whose best years are behind him but who can come off the bench and produce. Not so in Polly's case. He's the real deal day in and day ouit. And for those who think he is a slight downgrade from Pedro Feliz, think again. He doesn't have Feliz' arm but his hands are sure and his range quite good. Great to have him back.

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Brad Lidge is hurting again. What else is new? Why is it we always here about a new ailment after he's pitched poorly? Sunday he got away with two pitches that would have been home runs to dead center field in the old Polo Grounds had not the winds been blowing. The next day we learn he's hurting. This routine is getting old. If he isn't 100%, why do they bring him back? Are we to believe these ailments don't surface during multiple rehab appearances? Look for Jose Contreras to be the closer as long as he continues to do the job.

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How many times over the last few seasons has Chase Utley flipped the ball with his glove to the shortstop or first baseman? It's getting to be a routine thing with Chase and it ain't an easy thing to do, especially when you are falling down or diving as is frequently the case with the Phils' second baseman. The guy just goes hard on every play. Remind yourselves not to take him for granted for one play. Be grateful you are watching one of the great players of this or any era.

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