Worley’s Personal Catcher (that isn’t)
For the second time this season, Phillies’ backup catcher Brian Schnieder will be behind the plate for a Vance Worley start. This is nothing new. In fact, Schneider caught 109.2 of Worley’s 131.2 innings last year to Chooch’s 19. (Dane Sardinha caught 3 innings.)
Oddly, Charlie Manuel insists that Schneider is not Worley’s personal catcher. According to David Murphy of the Daily News, Charlie says that Schneider is starting today because it’s a day game after a night game, which is a pretty typical move.
Whatever the reason, there’s a pretty big difference between Worley’s stats when Schneider starts and when Ruiz starts. Behold:
Granted, we're looking at a pretty small sample size here, especially when it comes to Ruiz. 19 innings isn't really enough time to get a good picture of how well a particular pitcher/hitter battery performs together.
That said, a difference in innings that great certainly seems to point to a conscious decision to start Schneider when Worley pitches. Schneider caught 90% of the innings that Worley pitched in 2011. For the sake of comparison, he caught just 10% of Cole Hamels' innings and 11% of Cliff Lee's in the same season.
Whether that's Charlie's decision or Worley's remains to be seen. Either way, I'm sure Phillies fans don't care who catches Worley's starts if it helps him have another season like he did last year.