Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Cardinals 1

uspresswire-phillies-ruiz-burnett.jpg

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Cardinals 1

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS – The Phillies remained the hottest team in the National League on Friday night as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1, at Busch Stadium.

The Phils have won five in a row (for the first time since last June) and nine of their last 11. In that span, they have gone from 11 games under .500 to four under .500 and they’ve closed to within 3½ games of first place in the NL East after being seven games back.

A.J. Burnett pitched a complete game and allowed just one run in Friday night’s win. The Phils have a team ERA of 2.00 in the last 11 games.

The start of the game was delayed 50 minutes by rain.

Starting pitching report
Burnett (5-6) pitched his first complete game of the season. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out three.

Burnett entered the game leading the National League with 43 walks. He has walked just one batter over 17 innings in his last two starts.

St. Louis lefty Jaime Garcia (3-1) pitched shutout ball for the first four innings then allowed four runs in the fifth and six innings. He gave up five extra-base hits in those two innings.

Bullpen report
The Phils’ bullpen got the night off.

The Cardinals’ bullpen allowed just one run in four innings.

At the plate
Burnett helped himself in the fifth inning when he tied the game at 1-1 with a double that scored John Mayberry Jr., who had also doubled. Mayberry also had an RBI single and scored two runs as he started for the fourth straight game in place of Ben Revere, who is still limited by a sore knee.

Jimmy Rollins put the Phils ahead, 2-1, with an RBI double in the fifth. It extended his hitting streak to 14 games. He drove home another run with sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Marlon Byrd led off the sixth with his 12th homer.

Health check
Reid Brignac went on the disabled list with a sprained ankle and Cody Asche was activated from the DL.

Cliff Lee threw in the bullpen again and says he’s making good progress (see story).

Up next
Good pitching matchup Saturday afternoon with Cole Hamels (2-3, 2.78) going against Adam Wainwright (9-3, 2.15).

Source: Phillies have gotten trade 'nibbles' on Carlos Ruiz

Source: Phillies have gotten trade 'nibbles' on Carlos Ruiz

CHICAGO — Another trade deadline arrives next Wednesday.

Could a Phillies veteran such as Ryan Howard or Carlos Ruiz, the lone holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship team, be on the move?

ESPN reports that both players have cleared waivers, which would make them eligible to be dealt. Players traded after Aug. 1 must first clear waivers. They have to be on a new team’s roster by Sept. 1 to gain postseason eligibility. Players traded after Sept. 1 are not eligible for the postseason.

Howard has been available for a trade for a couple of seasons, but there has been no interest. Even now, with him hitting .339 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and a .742 slugging percentage since the All-Star break (entering Wednesday), there remains little interest, according to sources. Howard is still owed about $16 million in the form of salary and a $10 million contract buyout for 2017, but that would not be an impediment to a deal as the Phils would eat that. Still, it’s unlikely he will be traded because most of the American League contenders are set at designated hitter, which would be his optimal role.

So, Howard, 36, is likely to play out the final year of his contract with the Phils, take his well-earned bows and exit either to retirement or a new team next season. He says he wants to keep playing.

Ruiz, 37, is also in the final year of his contract. Like Howard, he has swung the bat well recently, hitting .298 with a .433 on-base percentage in his last 26 games. He’s a backup catcher at this stage of his career, but that could appeal to a team like Cleveland or Boston, contenders who could be in the market for catching depth.

A baseball source said the Phillies have received some recent “nibbles” on Ruiz. It’s unclear if a deal will reach the finish line.

As players with 10 seasons in the majors and five consecutive with the same team, Howard and Ruiz both have the power to block a trade. It’s doubtful that either would because both have stated that their goal is to play in the postseason again.

“I’m still happy here,” Ruiz said. “We’ll see what happens. If that happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm going to play.”

Howard has taken the same attitude.

“Those are situations where I guess you’ve got to see what presents itself,” he said. “You know me. The last 12 years I’ve just been focused on playing ball. If it presents itself, it presents itself. You handle that situation. Otherwise, I just try to stay in the moment, stay in the now and prepare for the game.”

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph both start

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph both start

Wednesday's matchup against floundering White Sox righty James Shields is a rare opportunity for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin to have both Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph in the same lineup (see game notes). In an American League ballpark against a right-handed starter, Howard (DH) will bat cleanup and Joseph (1B) will hit sixth.

Howard, who is hitting .378 with five homers and 13 RBIs in August, sat out Tuesday's 9-1 loss (see game recap). The Phillies managed only five hits, as White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon stymied the team's offense.

Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera also return to the lineup. Herrera has four hits in six career at-bats against Shields. Overall, the Phillies have a .297 batting average against the veteran Sox starter. 

With Herrera and Hernandez back at the top of the order, Aaron Altherr moves down from second to seventh. Out of Altherr's 95 at-bats this season, only four have come from the seventh spot. Here is the full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Aaron Altherr, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Peter Bourjos, RF