PHILADELPHIA -- Most of the focus on the Phillies' rebuild these past few months has been on first base, second base, shortstop and the outfield.Tommy Joseph or Rhys Hoskins? Scott Kingery or Cesar Hernandez? Freddy Galvis or J.P. Crawford? Have the Phillies already found their 2018 Opening Day outfield with
PHILADELPHIA -- Most of the focus on the Phillies' rebuild these past few months has been on first base, second base, shortstop and the outfield.
Tommy Joseph or Rhys Hoskins? Scott Kingery or Cesar Hernandez? Freddy Galvis or J.P. Crawford? Have the Phillies already found their 2018 Opening Day outfield with Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera?
Decisions need to be made at catcher, too. To that end, Cameron Rupp hit a pair of two-run home runs in Wednesday night's 9-0 victory over the Astros at Citizens Bank Park. In doing so, he became the first Phillies catcher with a multihomer game since Mike Lieberthal on Sept. 17, 2006, at Houston's Minute Maid Park.
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Rupp opened the season as the Phillies' primary catcher, with Andrew Knapp the backup. Rupp hit .274 with an .844 OPS in 24 games through May 14 but went into a 20-game tailspin after that. He hit just .104 with a .372 OPS through June 22, dropping his season average to .199 with a .638 OPS.
Rupp lost playing time to Knapp along the way.
But Rupp very quietly has gotten back on track. He is hitting .357 with three doubles, four homers, eight RBIs and a 1.152 OPS in his past 13 games.
"I finally got out of that -- whatever it was," Rupp said. "I hit my slump that every player goes through. Mine lasted a little bit longer, unfortunately. I battled. I worked on things. I hung with it. I trusted myself, and now I'm not missing my pitches."
A strong finish can only help Rupp because next season's catching situation is cloudy, at best. Triple-A Lehigh Valley catcher Jorge Alfaro is the No. 72 prospect in baseball (and the Phillies' No. 5), according to MLBPipeline.com. He is hitting just .240 with a .646 OPS in 300 at-bats. He has plenty of improvements to make offensively and defensively, but he will also be out of options next season. That means Alfaro must be on the 2018 Opening Day roster if the Phillies plan to keep him in the organization.
Rupp, Knapp and Alfaro are three young, team-controllable catchers in the mix. Rupp is hoping to stay right where he is.
"I know what's in the system," Rupp said. "I know where we stand as an organization. I've always said I'm going to fight for my job, just like I would when I'm trying to win a job. That's part of the game. Any day, it can be taken away from you. I know I've got to come out and play."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.