Ryne Sandberg remains focused on players
1. When and where
The Phillies' final home series of the season continues Saturday as they look for retribution against the Mets, who beat them 6-4 in the opener. The game is at 7:05 p.m. on CSN.
2. Losing season secured
Friday's loss dropped the Phillies to 71-82, ensuring their first losing season since 2002.
The Phils have, however, played much better baseball under Ryne Sandberg, going 18-15 since he took over as interim manager.
The biggest change has been their collective approach at the plate. Over their last 32 games, the Phils have a .325 on-base percentage. In their prior 25 games, they had a .265 OBP.
3. Cloyd vs. Gee
Tyler Cloyd almost certainly isn't in the Phillies' future plans, but because of so many rotation issues, he'll make his 10th start Saturday night.
Cloyd is 2-5 with a 5.06 ERA. He's done a much better job this season at keeping the ball in the park, but his opponents have hit .306.
He's opposed by Mets right-hander Dillon Gee, who has been fantastic since the end of June. In his last 15 starts, he's 6-3 with a 2.36 ERA. In other words, he's pitched just like Cole Hamels this summer.
Gee on the season is 11-10 with a 3.47 ERA. The Phillies have had his number, though. He has a 7.66 ERA against them in nine career appearances and has allowed 11 homers in 44 2/3 innings. Though, full disclosure, a lot of that damage was done by Ryan Howard.
4. Wright back at it
David Wright missed seven weeks with a hamstring strain, but -- to the surprise of no one -- hit an opposite-field home run on his first swing back. It was his 18th career homer at Citizens Bank Park, the most ever by a Phillies opponent there.
It was also his fifth career homer and 15th RBI vs. Hamels. Wright has the most hits, homers and RBIs of any player Hamels has ever faced.
A true Phillie-killer, Wright has 31 homers and 40 doubles in 153 games vs. the Phils.
5. Ruf stuff
Darin Ruf had another productive night at the plate Friday, doubling in two runs and walking. He's hitting .254/.355/.487 this season. He might not be the best fielder or runner, and he'll likely always hover in the .260 range, but Ruf has a disciplined eye and a powerful bat that will make him a valuable player in any role moving forward.
How he fits into the Phils' future plans remains to be seen. At best, he could be the opening-day rightfielder next season. At worst, he could be a super platoon player who splits time between first base, the corner outfield and bench.