PITTSBURGH -- Phillies starting pitchers have compiled a 4.04 ERA entering action Thursday. The bullpen has an ERA of 4.55. Put it all together, and the Phillies rank next-to-last in the National League with a combined ERA of 4.19.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has told catcher Carlos Ruiz to be more assertive with the pitching staff, particularly the young relief corps.
"Ruiz is good," Manuel said. "Ruiz gets aggressive with those guys, and if they let him, he can definitely walk them through, because he knows how to call the game, and he really knows how to pitch to the hitters and basically what he wants to do with them. I'm telling you Ruiz can be very good.
"When people shake him off, I'd like for him to just get up and go out to the mound and tell them, I really would, because I think he's that good. Roy Halladay never used to shake him off , Halladay would pitch the whole game and not shake him off, and that's got to tell you something. I told Ruiz he had to be more demanding and lead them where he wanted them to go. They'll follow him because he's good."
The Phillies pitchers are learning to put their trust in Ruiz.
"There is nothing really that needs to be said on that matter," Phillies right-hander Justin De Fratus explained. "Chooch is an All-Star, he's a World Series Champion, and he's been to the World Series twice, so nothing really needs to be said. I learned my lesson when I shook him off and I got beat."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.