By Sam Bush
We haven’t hit the dog days of summer yet. In fact we haven’t even his summer yet.
But ss temperatures rise, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg foresees increased playing time for catcher Cameron Rupp.
Sandberg said the daily grind behind the plate can be tough on aging veteran Carlos Ruiz, so the heat certainly plays a factor.
But so does Rupp’s hitting.
In his last 11 games, the 26-year-old from Texas is hitting .367 (11-of-30) with four doubles and four RBIs. Rupp added two more hits in Friday’s 1-0, 13-inning loss to the Pirates.
“In the way that he’s performed as of late, I can see him getting some more looks,” Sandberg told MLB.com. “He’s swung the bat well. He’s showed a very strong arm. It looks like he’s coming along behind the plate.”
After starting 18 games last year for the Phillies, Rupp has already started a career-high 19 games this season. He has reached base safely in 14 of those games.
Rupp has filled in for Ruiz the last two gams, getting two hits in each game.
Rupp also provides solid numbers against left-handed pitchers. It’s a small sample size, but in 30 career plate appearances against lefties, Rupp totes a .259 batting average and .333 on-base percentage.
Even though Ruiz’s season averages against southpaws are better (.350 average, .409 on-base), Sandberg is riding the hot stick as the summer — and competition — heats up.