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Rupp searching for answers to solve slump

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

LOS ANGELES -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp shook his head in disbelief Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

He entered the series opener against the Dodgers hitting just .170 (8 for 47) with one home run, three RBIs and a .605 OPS in 56 plate appearances. Last season, he ranked fourth out of 19 qualified catchers in OPS (.752) and fourth in slugging percentage (.448).

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LOS ANGELES -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp shook his head in disbelief Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

He entered the series opener against the Dodgers hitting just .170 (8 for 47) with one home run, three RBIs and a .605 OPS in 56 plate appearances. Last season, he ranked fourth out of 19 qualified catchers in OPS (.752) and fourth in slugging percentage (.448).

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"I need to get back to being myself," Rupp said.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin sees Rupp working underneath the ball too much. Rupp has been dropping his back side on his swing causing him to uppercut at the ball.

"There's probably a whole lot of things that are going on right now that I'm not real sure about," Rupp said.

Rupp said the biggest thing has been missing too many good pitches -- either missing them or fouling them back.

"I'm close," Rupp said. "These are pitches I drove out of the ballpark or put in play last year."

Rupp hit the ball hard consistently last season. He ranked 29th out of 246 hitters in baseball (minimum 200 balls in play) with an average exit velocity of 92.2 mph, according to Statcast™. It's been at 89.8 mph so far this season, which only confirms what Rupp already knew: He is not barreling as many balls.

"There is no way my exit velocity is up there this year," he said. "Maybe on foul balls. But I don't feel like I'm giving away at-bats. I'm not chasing pitches out of the zone."

Rupp has walked seven times this month. He walked 24 times in 419 plate appearances last season.

"I'm seeing the ball," Rupp said. "I feel I need to be more aggressive when I get my pitches to hit as opposed to maybe falling deeper into counts. I think I had success last year swinging earlier. I don't want to get to two strikes and start seeing 95 mph sliders."

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.

Philadelphia Phillies, Cameron Rupp