Sitting 5.5 back of the Wild Card with nine games remaining, it would seem there isn't much left to get enthusiastic about as baseball season slips away for Philadelphia. The Phillies begin their final three games at Citizens Bank Park tonight, so if you want to catch a game before it's all over, this is your final chance.
There are perhaps one or two more big stories left before it's all over though, and tonight's is Darin "Babe" Ruf making his first Major League start. He will be playing in left field and batting seventh in the lineup.
The 26-year-old Ruf made waves seemingly out of nowhere this summer with his assault on Reading's record book, surpassing Ryan Howard's single-season home run milestone. With a .314 average and 104 RBI to go along with his 38 bombs, Ruf earned Eastern League MVP honors, and was added to the big club's 40-man on September 10.
Ruf has just three plate appearances to date, going 0-for-2 with a sac-fly RBI. He'll be squaring off against Washington's Ross Detwiler tonight, who is 10-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 2012. Hey, the Phillies may have finally fallen out of the race, but at least they can still mess with the Nationals.
Ruf's insertion into the lineup certainly brings an added level of intrigue to tonight's game, even if it is far too late to draw any kind of meaningful conclusions about the kid's progress the rest of the way. But if nothing else, it would be fun to see his storybook year continue to play out at CBP tonight, with a baseball or two landing in the left field flowerbeds.