Injuries are taking their toll on the Philadelphia Phillies, and at the worst possible time.
After an examination on his left wrist by team doctors, Carlos Ruiz is the latest member of the team to miss time due to injury.
Ruiz joins the lengthy list of J.A. Happ, Scott Eyre, J.C. Romero, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Martinez, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park, and Brett Myers as Phillies who have been hit by the injury bug.
Happ, Martinez, Dobbs, and Myers appear as if they will be able to return within the next week of play. The fate of Eyre, Romero, Durbin, and Park for the rest of the season is still unknown.
Even with the barrage of injuries, the Phillies are finding a way to win. After splitting yesterday's double-header with the Florida Marlins, they moved to 8-2 over their last ten games.
The most promising sign has come from the World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, who appears to have found his postseason touch once again. Despite a rough six-inning, four run outing against the Houston Astros on September 6th, Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA in September.
Over his last seven starts, he has recorded 46 strikeouts and walked just 11 batters while posting a 2.22 ERA.
Only time will tell whether he will be able to continue his resurgence for the remainder of the season and deep into the postseason. But we can be sure that if the Phillies are to make a run at a second consecutive World Series title, Cole Hamels will need to be the dominant pitcher he was last October.
The other ace of the rotation, Cliff Lee, seems to have returned to being the dominating pitcher he was in his first five starts as a Phillie.
After three straight outings in which he gave up three or more runs (the only time he has done so this season), the reigning AL Cy Young pitched a complete game shutout on September 15 over the Washington Nationals.
It was his first shutout and third complete game as a Phillie. He struck out nine and allowed just six hits.
Lee's following start was cut short by rain after four innings in Atlanta, where he allowed one run through four solid innings.
Hamels is scheduled to take the mound tonight in Florida to wrap up the Phillies' three-game series with the Marlins before heading to Milwaukee for a four-game set.
Happ is scheduled to return to make his next start on Thursday. Lee will follow on Friday, with Joe Blanton and Martinez set to pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The Phils' magic number for clinching their third straight NL East championship stands at five, and could be as low as three by night's end.
All statistics as of 9/23/09.