Howard's 'Replacements' Batting a Cool .190; Time to Move up Chooch?

Howard's 'Replacements' Batting a Cool .190; Time to Move up Chooch?

The idea that the 2012 Phillies might have trouble scoring runs has been fairly well explored at this rate. We also fully acknowledge that spring training numbers can be very tough to read into with any kind of accuracy, so this should all be taken with some proportionately-sized grain of salt.
With that in mind, the spring totals for John Mayberry, Jr. and Ty Wigginton have certainly  underwhelmed. With Wiggington expected to see the bulk of the time at first base in Howard's stead and with Mayberry more than likely filling in the power quotient in the Big Piece's absence, it seemed prudent to see how they were faring.
The answer wasn't pretty.
In 61 plate appearances, Wiggington has just 11 hits, amounting to a .180 BA. Mayberry, separately, is third on the team in plate appearances, but has turned only 15 of his 75 trips to dish into hits, producing a Mendoza line special of .200. Together, that's 26 hits on 136 plate appearances for a combined .191.
Thus we ask: might it finally be time for Carlos Ruiz to make a long-awaited climb up the order if Wigginton and Mayberry's spring struggles carry over into the games that really count in April?
For reference, Ruiz's number of attempts pales in comparison to the other two as he's naturally been splitting time with backup Brian Schneider, but Chooch has a .500 BA and .522 OBP in 44 PA's. Ruiz has traditionally batted out of the seventh and eight spots, as catchers are wont to do, but did hop up to sixth at times last season. He's also shown a certain knack for coming up clutch in big spots for a guy who's traditionally occupied the bottom of the order. 
Can we also point out he finished behind only Pence with a .283 average last year and was the only starter to hit above .300 in 2010?
Again, spring training numbers might be somewhat flawed indicators in the cases of Mayberry and Wigginton, but given Ruiz's March success and his history at the plate over the last two seasons, how would you feel about moving Chooch up in the order? If you're on board, just how high do you want him?
If you're up for it, follow Tim H's example and fill out your preferred lineup card below.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

ap-josh-hart-steal.jpg
The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Back at No. 1, Villanova looked every bit like the best team in the country.

The Wildcats — who earlier in the day regained their top spot in the rankings after a week at No. 3 — demolished Seton Hall, 76-46, in a Big East matchup Monday night at the Pavilion.

The win was the fourth straight for Villanova (18-1, 6-1), the 1,700th in program history, and the 47th straight at the Pavilion, setting an all-time record. The previous mark of 46 was established between January 2007 and 2011. 

Leading by 13 at halftime, Villanova put its foot on the gas to start the second half, jumping out to a 53-26 advantage on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer followed by a baseline slam from Donte DiVincenzo.

The hot-shooting Wildcats continued to pour it on from there, with Jenkins hitting a couple of more tough threes to put Villanova up by a whopping 65-31 margin with 10:33 left.

Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) closed a three-game road trip with losses in all three games.

Big men on campus
Jenkins led the way with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. He joined Jalen Brunson (13 points), Josh Hart (11 points), Eric Paschall (10 points) and DiVincenzo (10 points) in double figures.

All seven of the players in head coach Jay Wright’s seven-man rotation finished with at least eight points as Darryl Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds and Mikal Bridges had eight points and seven rebounds.

Desi Rodriguez was the only Seton Hall player to hit double figures with 15 points.

By the numbers
• Villanova shot 47.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (12 for 26) from three-point range, while Seton Hall shot 29.1 and 25 percent.

• The Wildcats had nine steals and scored 27 points off 16 Seton Hall turnovers. 

• Villanova only missed one of its 11 free throw attempts.

First half
Seton Hall led 5-4 before Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control, capped by a fantastic one-handed putback slam from Reynolds. 

The Wildcats extended their lead to 25-7 as Seton Hall struggled to make anything. Consecutive threes from Rodriguez gave the Pirates a glimmer of life late in the first half, but the Wildcats still took a comfortable 36-23 lead into halftime.

Hall trouble
The Pirates have more victories over Villanova than any Big East team since the new version of the league was launched in 2013, beating the Wildcats three times. One of those wins was in last year’s Big East Tournament title game at Madison Square Garden, Villanova’s final loss in 2015-16 before its magical run to the national title.

Seton Hall has had far less success at the Pavilion, however, with their last win there coming all the way back in 1994. 

Simmons in the house
Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was on hand to see the No. 1 team in the country. He sat courtside and took photos with fans at halftime. 

Up next
Villanova returns to action Saturday afternoon vs. Providence at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seton Hall goes home to welcome St. John’s on Sunday. 

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Even Dario Saric is getting in on the Joel Embiid All-Star Game craze.

After the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Bucks Monday, Saric made the case for Embiid in a postgame interview with CSN's Molly Sullivan. 

"Joel, for sure, he deserves to be in All-Star Game ... he's the guy who changed the sport in Philly," Saric said.

"And if we get Ben [Simmons] to him, we got good couples for so many years."

Saric definitely trusts The Process.

"He deserve everything ... he's maybe the best big man in the league."

We'll find out if the fans like him as much as Saric does Monday at midnight when fan voting ends. 

Catch the full interview above for more.