Welcome to PhilsWeek! – a fun* look back at the week that was and all the exciting happenings surrounding everyone’s favorite major league baseball team: The Philadelphia Phillies!
*Note: Amount of fun experienced may vary.
Super big Phillies issue of the week: Chooch + Adderall = Offensive Powerhouse
A week ago, Carlos Ruiz was having a disappointing season. After Saturday’s game in Colorado, he was batting only .204 with a .614 OPS. This came after a lost 2013 season in which he served a 25-game suspension for using Adderall, a banned stimulant used to treat ADHD. After his suspension, “Chooch” never quite found his hitting stroke. In 92 games, he batted only.268 with five home runs; a far cry from his All-Star season of 2012 when he hit .325 with 16 homers.
Critics wondered if Adderall was the key to his success, and without it, Ruiz would be like Popeye without his spinach. Because of this – not to mention his advanced age of 35 – many people questioned the wisdom of signing Ruiz to a three-year deal this offseason. ESPN analyst Keith Law hated the move, but that isn’t surprising considering Law instinctively hates any move the Phillies make.
The Phillies were publicly confident that Ruiz was the best option available at catcher. They felt that even if his hitting numbers never returned to their 2012 levels, his defense and ability to handle the pitching staff would make him valuable.
It’s very likely that they also knew that Ruiz had obtained a legitimate prescription for Adderall and would now be able to take the drug with Major League Baseball’s blessing.
Whether he owes it all to the drug or not, Ruiz has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. In his past six games, he has gone 11-22 with a home run and seven RBIs. He was probably the biggest reason why the Phillies were able to win three games from the Dodgers.
Based on these numbers, Ruiz could likely be headed to his second All-Star game:
Carlos Ruiz, ranks among NL catchers: .294 BA, 3rd .412 OBP, 1st 10 XBH, 1st 18 runs, 1st 13 walks, 3rd
— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidman) April 28, 2014
Maybe the Phillies should look into getting Adderall prescriptions for a few more of their players.
Pennant year song of the week
Winning the National League pennant isn’t something the Phillies do all that often; it’s only happened seven times in team history. Each week, I’ll take a song from one of those years that somehow ties into the events of the past week.
Goodnight Irene – Gordon Jenkins and the Weavers, 1950
With the Phillies playing on the West Coast, most of their games didn’t finish until late at night. Only the fans who didn’t have to wake up early the next morning – or the truly dedicated – were able to see them through to the end.
Right player, wrong uniform
There are some players who played their entire careers with a single team, and it’s impossible to imagine them in a different uniform: Mike Schmidt with the Phillies,Cal Ripken with the Orioles, and Derek Jeter with the Yankees are prime examples. On the other hand, there are some players who you might associate with a certain team…but they also had a forgettable stint (or two) with another team. You might not remember their time with those other teams, but the internet never forgets!
Everyone remembers Darren Daulton as the leader of the 1993 Phillies. The catcher – slowed by injuries through much of his early career – finally managed to stay healthy in 1992, and came out of nowhere to lead the National League in RBIs.
He put together two more All-Star seasons, before injuries once again became a problem. By 1997, his knees were in such bad shape that the team moved him to left field. With that ’97 team going nowhere, the Phillies traded Daulton to the Florida Marlins.
Daulton proved to be a valuable bench player with the Marlins, and helped the team win the World Series that season. Despite his time there being successful, it still looks weird to see Daulton in a Florida uniform.
The week ahead
The Phillies will get their first look at two of their division rvials. They have a two-game series against the Mets, and after that, the Nationals will come to town. After this week, we may have a better idea of just how the Phillies rank in the National League East.
Inane rap lyric of the week
“And the ugly girls too. ‘Cause to me you’re pretty anyways, baby.” – ODB, Got Ya Money
ODB clearly knew how to see a woman’s inner beauty.
See you next week for another installment of PhilsWeek! Be sure to follow me (@MikeLacy_215) and That Ball’s Outta Here (@FS_TBOH) on the Twitter!