Ruiz deserves Phils efforts, fans vote

Worley's chance to make All-Star Game hurt by elbow injury

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies finally amped up their campaign last week to get Carlos Ruiz to next month'sAll-Star game.

As part of their pre-game, clubhouse attire, players wore "Vote Chooch" shirts. Roy Halladay sported the shirt when played catch in the field before the game, and it was caught on camera and shown minutes before the game for all to see.

The idea was a good one, but it may have been too late.

In the latest tally, released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, June 19, Ruiz was third among National League catchers with 1,756,018 votes.

With voting coming to a close on Thursday, June 28, Ruiz has a long way to go to pass the two ahead of him and win the starting job outright. San Francisco's Buster Posey leads the way with 2,445,005 votes. St. Louis' Yadier Molina has 2,291,018 votes.

"He definitely deserves to be on the All-Star team," Manuel said of Ruiz.

Even TV crews were trying to help Ruiz's cause. Leslie Gudel from Comcast SportsNet got Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino to voice their support on camera for their teammate last week.

Ruiz belongs there. His numbers, offensively and defensively, make him unarguably worthy.

Not only does he lead all National League catchers in most categories, but he's among the league leaders at all positions in a slew of them, too.

Batting average: .347 (1st among N.L. catchers; 4th in N.L.)

On-base percentage: .414 (3rd among N.L. catchers, 6th in N.L.)

Batting average with RISP: (2nd among N.L. catchers; 9th in N.L.)

Three-hit games: 9 (1st among N.L. catchers; T-5th in N.L.)

RBIs: 38 (T-2nd among N.L. catchers)

Doubles: 17 (1st among N.L. catchers)

Slugging percentage: .568 (1st among N.L. catchers; 7th in N.L.)

Home runs: 9 (T-2nd among N.L. catchers)

At-bats per RBI: 5.2 (2nd among N.L. catchers; 7th in N.L.)

Plate appearances per strikeout: 9.1 (2nd best among N.L. catchers; T-9th in N.L.)

Caught stealing percentage: .385 (4th among N.L. catchers; Molina, Posey are behind him)

Fielding percentage: .996 (3rd among N.L. catchers; Molina, Posey are behind him)

If Ruiz doesn't wind up winning the fan vote, there's always the chance he could be named as one of five National League players in the Final Vote (as Shane Victorino has been in the past) or he could be chosen by N.L. manager Tony LaRussa as a backup catcher.

"Oh God, it's unreal. It's unreal," Cole Hamels said of Ruiz's year. "You only get those types of seasons every once in a while. It's fun to watch. He deserves all the credit because he's worked really hard."

Although Ruiz is the most deserving Phillie, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon each could make a case as for why they belong in the All-Star Game, which is July 10 in Kansas City.

At 10-3, Hamels was the first left-hander in the National League to double-digit wins this season. He has a 3.25 ERA, a .234 BAA, a 1.09 WHIP and 99 strikeouts in 97.0 innings pitched.

Papelbon has the most saves of any N.L. reliever who hasn't blown a chance yet (before Saturday); he's 17-for-17. In 27 2/3 innings (28 games) he's fanned 33, walked six and allowed 21 hits. While those numbers are impressive, I wouldn't necessarily say he'd be the go-to-guy to close things out for LaRussa.

It's hard to imagine that Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel wouldn't be the one LaRussa would turn to make the final out. Kimbrel throws harder and nearly all of his numbers are better (21 saves in 22 chances, 27.0 IP, 12 H, 1.33 ERA, .129 BAA, 0.81 WHIP, 10 BB, 44 SO).

There's only one thing preventing Vance Worley (3-4, 2.78 ERA) from being in the running: his 11 games started. Most starting pitchers up to this point have made 14 or 15 starts. But his elbow injury --- he was on the disabled list from May 12 to June 4 --- has hurt his cause.

Looking up in the wild-card race

So who would have thought this when the season started: The Pirates come to town Monday for a four-game series, and they are five spots ahead of the Phillies in the wild-card standings (yes, I know it's early for that kind of talk)?

The Pirates entered play Saturday fourth in the wild-card standings, so they would be the first team out of the playoffs. The Phillies started the day off ninth in the wild-card standings.

ahousenick@mcall.com

Twitter @inthephilshouse

Fire

R.A. Dickey (New York Mets) … Is there really anyone else even in consideration here? The knuckleballer has a 0.00 ERA in his last five starts, all games in which he got the win. He has fanned 52 and walked only five in his previous 41 2/3 innings pitched. For the season, he is 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA.

Ice

Brian McCann (Atlanta Braves) … Known as one of the best hitting catchers in the game, McCann has been on a recent slide. The 28-year-old is hitting just .192 (10-for-52) in his last 13 games. He has struck out 12 times and scored only six runs during a stretch in which the Braves were 8-5.

Number

60: Hits Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins needs to reach 2,000 for his career.

Did you know?

Hunter Pence is the highest ranking Phillie in strikeouts entering Saturday's game. He is tied for 60th with 54. The Phillies are 27th in baseball with 448. Both rankings are a far cry from previous years when Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were in the lineup every day. … Freddy Galvis is the highest ranking Phillie in grounding into double plays with six. The Phillies are tied for 18th with 48. … Charlie Manuel entered Saturday's game needing one more win for the 900th in his managerial career. … Shane Victorino is 22 hits shy of 1,000 for his career.

Catching up with …

Ryan VogelsongThe one-time Phillies farmhand is having another stellar year with the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA. In 89 2/3 innings pitched (13 games), Vogelsong has allowed 71 hits, 32 walks and 24 earned runs. He has fanned 64 and has a WHIP of 1.15. When he was with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, he posted a 2-5 record to go along with his 4.91 ERA in 25 games, seven of which were starts. Control was a big issue for him back then. He handed out 40 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

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