Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 5/25/12

Carlos Ruiz is batting .366 so far this season with 7 HRs and 29 RBI. Getting a shot at the cleanup spot in the lineup may provide Ruiz an opportunity to show the rest of MLB what Philly fans have known all along.

Carlos Ruiz has always been loved in the city of Philadelphia. A lot of that has to do with Panamanian’s ability to exceed expectations which is aided by the fact that he has never been a centerpiece on this offense. It’s easy to not ruffle feathers when you’re expected to bat 8th and hit .260. It’s easy to have people recognize your hard work when you make $3.7 million as opposed to $25 million a year. But Carlos Ruiz has never had the spotlight shined on him in Philadelphia. Until now.

A couple of weeks ago when fans around our fair city started to take notice of how ridiculously well Carlos Ruiz was swinging the bat, some suggested he replace the struggling Hunter Pence in the cleanup spot. Some baseball personalities/analysts laughed at the premise. Then the Phillies went on a 6 game winning streak and suddenly it didn’t matter who hit where anymore.

When the Phillies recently hit the skids again and lost 4 straight, once again dipping below .500, it became clear that Charlie Manuel needed to do something. His answer? Bat Ruiz 4th. That’s right, put him in the cleanup spot after batting him 8th for the majority of his career.

I have to admit I chuckled some myself when I heard the news. Not because I didn’t believe Ruiz worthy or because I thought he’d fail, but more because I was excited. Carlos Ruiz has long been one of the most underrated Phillies on this team. I used to think of that a lot when I’d hear someone say how the lineup featured 7 former All Stars, knowing Ruiz was the only position player who hadn’t been one.

Chooch has always been lauded for his defensive ability. Everyone in baseball knows what it means to the Phillies to have someone who can command the pitching staff, that has featured some of the best pitchers in baseball, the way he does. Defensively, he is also one of the very best in baseball.

Ah, but the offense.

Chooch may come up big in some situations, but let’s face the facts that he has never hit more than 9 home runs in a season and is a lifetime .270 hitter.

While I’m almost certain that his stint as the Philadelphia Phillies’ cleanup hitter will not be a permanent thing, it is an opportunity for Ruiz to show MLB exactly what the fans in Philly have been seeing for years now, an especially this season :

Carlos Ruiz is the MVP of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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