He learned Sunday he would make his big league debut Tuesday against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park. And while the 8-2 loss is going to be quickly forgotten by most of the 29,242 Phillies fans in attendance, it is one Rupp and his family will remember. He not only picked up his first big league hit in the eighth inning -- he beat out a slow roller to third base, tumbling over the bag in the process -- but he received a nice compliment from home-plate umpire Mark Wegner.
"I must say this," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "[Wegner] came over in the ninth inning during a pitching change and said that was some of the best visibility he's seen all year and the best framing of pitches he's seen. That was pretty cool. I noticed with [Rupp's] posture, he gets a little bit rounded. I could see where an umpire can see the ball well coming in. He gave him a good compliment right there. That's impressive."
Rupp's debut is worth noting because the Phillies will be looking for the best backup catcher they can find next season.
He could be in the mix.
Rupp hit a combined .258 with 16 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 45 RBIs in 94 games between Doube-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He passed Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle in the organization's catching depth chart, earning him a September callup.
"He's good at receiving," said right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who allowed nine hits and seven runs in four-plus innings. "He definitely does what a catcher does. He'll get you some strikes. He's gotten me a lot over the year. He understands the game. He's a big strong kid. It's going to be hard for him not to stick some pitches."
"You want to give the ump the best look and give him a chance to call a strike for the pitcher, so that's something I pride myself in," Rupp said.
Rupp's parents had been in town since last week, waiting for the opportunity to see their son play, but his father, Kevin, returned home Sunday to Dallas with his mother Kathi scheduled to fly home Monday morning.
Rupp told them Sunday he would get a chance to play Tuesday. His mother wasn't sure if she should change her ticket because of the cost.
"Mom, I'm going to make my first start and not have anybody here after the game to say anything to," Rupp replied.
"OK, I'm staying," she said.
His father, brother and sister flew from Dallas to Philadelphia on Tuesday and everybody got the chance to see Rupp eke out his first hit in the eighth.
Rupp barrel-rolled as he fell over the base.
"It was about mid-roll when I saw him [signal] safe, and I was like, 'Yes!'" Rupp said. "Oh, I'm sure I won't hear the end of it for a while."
Cloyd, who recently replaced rookie Ethan Martin in the rotation, had posted a 2-3 record with a 3.57 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) this season with the Phillies, but Tuesday did not go well. The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jedd Gyorko hit a ball off the top of the left-center field wall for a double and scored on a single to right field from Chase Headley.
Cloyd pitched scoreless second and third innings, but things unraveled quickly beginning in the fourth. He allowed three runs on four hits in the inning to give the Padres a 4-0 lead and he allowed three consecutive singles to make it 5-0 in the fifth before Sandberg called for Zach Miner from the bullpen.
Cody Asche provided some of the only excitement for crowd when he hit a solo home run to right-center field in the fifth to make it 8-1. It was Asche's fifth homer of the season.
But it was Rupp's night.
And it will be his morning, too.
"They are flying out at like 6:30 tomorrow morning," Rupp said of his family. "They can take a cab to the airport. I'm going to sleep in."