10/03/10 6:14 PM ET
For first time, Phillies finish with best record
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
They entered Sunday's series finale against the Braves at 97-64. Even if the Phils lose Sunday, nobody can catch them. The Yankees and Rays entered Sunday with 95 wins.
"It means a lot to the franchise," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Obviously it's not nearly as important as having success in the playoffs, but it speaks a lot to the resiliency of the club and [manager] Charlie [Manuel's] steady hand. And when you think about it, we really haven't had typical years out of our everyday players."
The Phils have not. The only two players who have played above their career averages are Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. Werth has a career-high .915 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this season, which is 68 points higher than his career average. Ruiz has a career-high .846 OPS after posting a previous career-high .780 OPS last season.
A look at the other regulars:
Jimmy Rollins' .696 OPS is his lowest since 2002 (.686) and 68 points below his career average.
Placido Polanco's .730 OPS is 28 points below his career average.
Chase Utley's .838 OPS is his lowest since 2004 (.776), his last season before he became a starter. It also is 57 points below his career average.
Ryan Howard's .861 OPS is the lowest of his career and 83 points below his career average.
Raul Ibanez's .798 OPS is his lowest since 2005 (.792) and 25 points below his career average.
Shane Victorino's .761 OPS is his lowest since he became an everyday player in 2006 (.760) and 11 points below his career average.
"In a lot of ways, they've kind of had off years, whether it was health or performance or what have you," Amaro said. "But what we did do is play better as the year went on. Clearly we really struggled in the middle of the season. But they stayed after it. They're resilient. They kept after it."
Ruiz hit by pitch, to see team docs Monday
ATLANTA - Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz left Sunday's game before the bottom of the third inning after getting hit by a pitch in the left elbow.
Ruiz said X-rays were negative, but he will see team doctors Monday in Philadelphia.
"I hope so, yeah," said Ruiz, if he thinks he will be OK to play Wednesday in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. "We'll see [Monday] when I wake up, but right now, it's sore."
Ruiz finished the season hitting .302 with eight home runs and 53 RBIs in 121 games. His average ranks eighth in club history among catchers with 400 or more plate appearances. His .400 on-base percentage tied for first. Andy Seminick had a .400 OBP in 1950.
"He had a big season, man," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "Like I've said for about a month, the last two years, Chooch has really improved his game -- defensively and offensively. He's become what I call a complete catcher. I'm happy for him. I'm proud of him."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.