Schneider does his part with bat to bolster Phils' pitching

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- When the visiting Phillies began a four-game series at the Padres on Thursday, reserve catcher Brian Schneider took note of his team's 5-7 record and expressed disapproval.
"We've pitched well," he said. "When you consider how we have pitched, our record should be a lot better than it is."
Schneider considers his hitting secondary to his responsibilities as a catcher.
But when the Phillies needed a hit from him on Friday night, the 11-season veteran made sure another strong pitching effort didn't go for naught.
With the Phillies down 1-0 in the seventh inning, Schneider hit a run-scoring single that led to a three-run flurry and an eventual 4-1 victory, which rewarded Phillies starter Cole Hamels (2-1) and the bullpen for an effective night of pitching.
The hit was Schneider's first of the season, ending an 0-for-8 start. Schneider was able to get his bat barrel to a 99-miles-per-hour fastball from Padres reliever Andrew Cashner. In fact, the left-handed Schneider pulled the ball to right field.
"I thought it was a good pitch," Cashner said. "Give him credit.''
As part of his 2-for-4 night, Schneider also blooped a single off left-hander Joe Thatcher.
Schneider was in the starting lineup, for the third time this year and first time in six days, because regular catcher Carlos Ruiz suffered a wrist injury in the series opener. As it was, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel planned to start Schneider later in the series. Schneider was back in the lineup on Saturday, and the 35-year-old probably will be there again on Sunday, Manuel hinted. The manager said Ruiz's wrist was still swollen, and the catcher's status is "day-to-day."
Schneider said his main goal is to work well with Phillies pitchers, whose staff ERA of 2.20 led the majors entering Saturday.
"Our strength is pitching," he said. "The pitchers are doing their jobs. We led the league in ERA last year also, and that's our goal as catchers and pitchers, to lead the league."
On offense, the Phillies ranked 29th in scoring, with an average of 2.93 runs going into Saturday.
Schneider winced while citing some of the team's paltry hitting statistics.
"We've been putting a lot of pressure on our pitchers," he said. "Our goal is to score as many runs as possible and give our pitchers a cushion.
"We haven't been scoring a lot of runs. We've pitched well enough to have more victories. The reason for a lot of our success the last few years has been our pitching."

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