[RiverDogs Notebook] Ben Ruta Likely Lost For Season, Florial & Gilliam Pacing Offense

The Charleston RiverDogs have sprinted out to a 20-9 record in the second half of the season. They currently hold a half game lead over the Asheville Tourists in the Southern Division race.

They’ve lost a couple of key parts of their team, but have continued to play well.

Blake Rutherford was part of the trade that sent Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to the New York Yankees from the Chicago White Sox on July 19. Rutherford was assigned to the Kannapolis Intimidators, who play in the same league as the RiverDogs. So far through July 22, Rutherford has gone 4-for-13 (.307) in three games for the Intimidators with a couple of runs batted in.

Blake Rutherford is now with the White Sox organization. (Martin Griff)

The RiverDogs swept the Hagerstown Suns in a doubleheader at Joe Riley Park on July 20, but it came with a price. During game one, Ben Ruta left the game in the sixth inning with wrist pain. After further examination, it was determined Ruta had broken his hamate bone in his right wrist. The injury will require surgery and is likely to shelve him for the rest of the year. “Tough end to his year. There may be a chance we get him back very late in the year. Ben did a great job this year in all three phases, base-running, defense, offense. He did a great job for us, provided some depth in the outfield. We’re going to miss him,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said.

Ben Ruta (Jerry Coli)

The RiverDogs were sent Adonis Rosa and Pablo Olivares. Rosa returns to the RiverDogs after a quick trip to triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Olivares started off at rookie level Pulaski where he put up a .363/.495/.488 slash line.

Isiah Gilliam has been an offensive force for the RiverDogs. In his last 10 games, Gilliam has hit .371 with two home runs and nine runs batted in. “He’s been really consistent pretty much since he got into May. He started swinging the bat well and he’s been a big part of our lineup,” Osborn said of Gilliam. “He’s done a heck of a job. He’s really progressed and developed and he’s turning into a heck of a player.”

Charleston RiverDogs outfielder Isiah Gilliam has been an offensive force for the RiverDogs. (Martin Griff)

The RiverDogs’ first road trip of the second half started perfect at 5-0. They swept the Hagerstown Suns and then took the first two games against the Lakewood BlueClaws. In game three of that series, the Dogs were no hit by Nick Fanti. Fanti walked just one batter in a 1-0 Claws win. Alexander Vargas was the tough luck loser and only allowed one hit in eight innings – a home run to Henri Lartigue.

Estevan Florial is starting to heat up again. Florial struggled a bit after coming back from the Futures Game. From July 12-17, Florial had gone just 2-for-18. In his last five games from July 20-23, Florial has gone 8-for-17 to raise his average to .294 on the season.

Charleston RiverDogs outfielder Estevan Florial against the Lakewood BlueClaws in Lakewood, NJ on July 17, 2017 (Martin Griff)

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