Philadelphia Phillies Can't Afford to Lose Ruiz for Any Length of Time: Fan's Take

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Philadelphia Phillies might need to place catcher Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list due to the left oblique strain that he suffered in last night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

While that decision hasn't been made yet, the possibility of even temporarily moving forward without the player who has been the most consistent part of their lineup is a serious cause for concern.

Reports today indicate that Ruiz might have only experienced a cramp when he swung and missed at a ball in the sixth inning last night. Hopefully, that is the case.

Beyond his catcher's mitt

Ruiz' career defensive statistics have always been terrific.

Since becoming the Phillies starting catcher in 2007, Ruiz has never posted a fielding percentage below .993 in any season. He has a .998 fielding percentage through 55 games behind the plate this season.

What everyone in the baseball world has been forced to focus upon this year is what has happened while he has been standing at the plate.

The 33-year-old is currently hitting .362. That eye-popping number is only eclipsed by San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera's .365 major league-leading mark.

It seemed as though Ruiz' .302 batting average and .847 OPS mark in 2010 were representative numbers of a 'career year'. That notion appeared to be affirmed last season when he hit .283 and generated a .754 OPS. But, this season's batting average and 1.002 OPS have caused all perceptions of the seventh-year veteran to be adjusted even further.

'Chooch' has worked his way to a new level within the prime of his career by truly becoming a consistent hitter.

A series of numbers

The Phillies will need to play above .600 baseball in order to win approximately 90 games this season. Doing so would put them in the thick of the National League's Wild Card race.

It's fair to estimate that either the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets or Miami Marlins will top the 90-win total this season and dethrone Philadelphia from its five-year divisional run. As of now, the Nationals and Braves are the most likely candidates to claim that honor.

To expect manager Charlie Manuel's boys to play at a .600 clip without Ruiz is rather preposterous. If he is placed on the DL and they aren't able to win as many games as they need to, then Philadelphia would have to hum at a clip a few notches above .600 after he returned.

Current percentages indicate that the Phillies won't be able to win most of the series that they will play this summer. Therefore, a coming series of trades are more likely to be seen during the 2012 vacation season instead.

Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.

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