PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are looking for relief pitchers, and left-hander Jake Diekman has been making his case to be in the 2014 bullpen.
Diekman struck out the only two batters he faced in the eighth inning in Saturday's 6-5 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Entering play Sunday, he had allowed five hits, one run, two walks and struck out a remarkable 18 in 11 2/3 innings in his last 12 appearances.
Diekman has touched as high as 99 mph on the home radar gun. In fact, according to FanGraphs, Diekman's average fastball velocity is third best among Phillies pitchers from 2002-13. His fastball his first two seasons in the big leagues has averaged 95.4 mph, which trails only Billy Wagner (96.7 mph) and Felix Rodriguez (95.6 mph). Wagner pitched for the Phillies from 2004-05. Rodriguez made 23 appearances for the Phillies in 2004.
Interestingly, five of the pitchers in the top 10 have pitched for the Phillies this season: B.J. Rosenberg (94.8 mph) is fourth; Phillippe Aumont (94.7 mph) is tied with Francisco Rosario for fifth; J.C. Ramirez (94.1 mph) is ninth; and Luis Garcia (94.0 mph) is 10th.
And for those interested, of the 128 pitchers available to FanGraphs, former Phillies infielder John McDonald ranked last at 78.3 mph. Jamie Moyer ranked 127th with an 81.2 mph fastball.
Ruiz's strong finish strengthens his market
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz could not ask for a better finish to his season.
Ruiz hit .330 with nine doubles, four home runs, 16 RBIs and a .920 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his 30 games prior to Sunday's series finale, giving the Phillies something to think about as they enter the offseason with Ruiz set to become a free agent.
"They haven't said anything about next year," Ruiz said Saturday. "We're open to talk whenever they want. At the same time, I'm happy and healthy. Everything depends on the Phillies. If they want to talk before the end of the season, we're OK with that. If not, we'll wait and see what we've got in the market. It's not in my hands, you know? The only thing I can do is continue to play and try to finish strong."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week "it's possible" they could address Ruiz's contract status before the end of the season, but "I think we'll probably wait until the end of the year. He's playing much better. I think there are times he's still pressing, but for the most part, he's playing a lot more like Chooch. We'll see."
Kendrick likes what he sees in Phils' young players
PHILADELPHIA -- Kyle Kendrick is just 29, but these days, he is one of the older guys in the Phillies' clubhouse.
The Phillies are in transition, giving many of their younger players an opportunity as they work to improve for next season.
"I think we have a lot of young talent, that's for sure," Kendrick said. "Freddy [Galvis], obviously, had the big hit [Saturday]. And he played good defense … Cesar [Hernandez] had three hits. The bullpen, [Jake] Diekman and [Justin] De Fratus. So it's nice. It's weird to be talking about young guys, though. It feels weird. But like I say, we have some talent, for sure. And it's nice for them to go out there and get their reps and show what they have."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.