There were admittedly a lot of prevalent story lines coming out of the Philadelphia Phillies’ game with Los Angeles late Monday night. The Phillies crushed the Dodgers just like the good-”old” days of 2008 and 2009. Ryan Howard hit another home run, just like the aforementioned “good-old days.” Cliff Lee pitched his brains out, which has, and may happen, forever in perpetuity.
However, the story line of most immediate satisfaction is that of one Carlos Joaquin Ruiz. Affectionately known as “Chooch” to those who like to change to boos at a moment’s notice, Carlos Ruiz had only been hitting .204/.328/.286 entering the game. No home runs, no RBIs.
Ruiz has beaten up Dodgers’ starter Paul Maholm before (during his time with the Braves), and continued that trend tonight. In the top of the first, Ruiz laced a double into right field, scoring Jimmy Rollins and Tony Gwynn Jr., earning his first two RBIs of the season.
He’d double again in the third, and ended the night with his first HR in the 9th. All-in-all, he ended 3-for-4, with 8 total bases, 4 RBI, and a BB.
One might assume a performance like that would cement someone as Game MVP, but it’s not quite that simple. Cliff Lee had such a sparkling line, it’s tough competition. In 8 innings, he allowed only 4 H, 0 BB, and earned 10 K. It’s weird, but no walks is almost more exciting than no runs.
All that was also against one of the heaviest hitting teams in baseball. Man, he’s good. Jeff Manship also closed out the game in a non-save situation.
There was one stellar defensive play that deserves mention in supporting Cliff’s exquisite outing. During the bottom of the first, Adrian Gonzalez hit a sharp grounder up the middle, with Yasiel Puig on third. Chase Utley went all cool and fielded it like a baseball player, but instead of attempting the close-call throw to first, paused, and threw it home. Chooch took the term “run-down” very literally, and chased The Cuban Menace all the way down to third base, getting the out.
It was a pretty play, but the main reason it receives mention was because it reminds me of a certain other play.
Ok, it’s not quite the same. It’s not as high a degree of difficulty, not as crucial a moment (duh), and qualitatively not as awesome. But it’s visually similar, and it’s never a chore to watch that video. So, there.
Additionally of note is Ryan Howard, currently on a tear beyond just the scope of this game. He ended his night 2-for-5 with 5 TB, although still with 2 K’s. In his last 8 games, he’s hitting .345/.387/.828 with 4HR.
On the whole, he’s hitting .271/.363/.543 with 5 HR. Whatever problems the team has had to date, Howard hasn’t been a part of them.
This game was also a strong team win. Every starter except Freddy Galvis got on-base (he even reached on an error). Domonic Brown also got two-hits, and John Mayberry has kept me looking smart by going 1-for-2 with a BB against LHP (and predictably going 0-for-2 with a K against RHP).
It was a great game, but tomorrow night looks to be more equally matched. A.J. Burnett will face off against South Korean teddy bear Hyun-jin Ryu. The real game of interest is Wednesday, however, when Cole Hamels returns for his season debut against similar “secondary” ace Zack Greinke. That’s one not to miss.
Philadelphia Phillies (9-10) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-8)
Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 10:10 PM EST
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Tags: Philadelphia Phillies