Carlos Ruiz Bats Second Tonight as Phillies Open Series against Rockies

Carlos Ruiz Bats Second Tonight as Phillies Open Series against Rockies

Here’s some random trivia. Over his 16-year playing career, Ryne Sandberg logged 1,217 games as a two-hole hitter, more than any other spot in the order combined.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Rockies, Carlos Ruiz has started exactly two Major League games in that two slot. One came in 2008, the other this year. Those also happen to be the only two times the eight-year veteran was ever penciled in anywhere one through three.

Chooch is back at the top of the lineup tonight though. Coming off of yesterday’s 4-for-4 performance, Sandberg decided to do something Charlie Manuel seldom tried, giving his catcher a crack at more at bats – at least for one night. Clearly if there’s one thing the Phillies’ interim manager and Hall-of-Fame second baseman knows, it’s batting second. Should be an interesting experiment.

Ruiz is hitting .265 with a .310 on-base percentage and .325 slugging – obviously he won’t be bringing much pop to position. He is 2-for-8 in his previous starts in the two hole.

The rest of the lineup is your standard fare.

Ethan Martin takes the hill for the fourth time. He has yet to last longer than five innings, and there is some talk he may make a better bullpen piece. For now he remains a starter, but he has to go deeper and not get knocked around so much on the second trip through the order.

Martin faces right-hander Jeff Manship, who has been trying to catch on in the show since he came up with the Twins in 2009. He’s 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in two starts for Colorado this season. So naturally he’ll probably shut down the Phillies.

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.