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Monday, July 14, 2008

Coste vs. Ruiz

Over the weekend, Carlos Ruiz started Saturday against lefthander Randy Johnson. Chris Coste started Sunday against righthander Brandon Webb, while Cole Hamels on the mound. On the surface, it seems that since both are righthanded hitters, it really is an irrelevant decision. But since this is day one of four of the god-awful all-star festivities, let's examine it.

Carlos Ruiz hits better against RHP than LHP. Against RHP in his career, he hits .256/.332/.370 (AVG/OBP/SLG), not bad for a catcher. Against LHP, he inexplicably hits .197/.307/.336.

Chris Coste, like most righties, hits better against LHP than RHP. Against LHP, Coste hits .321/.360/.514, very very good for a catcher. Against RHP, he hits .290/.339/.457.

Why, then, with only two games before the all-star break, would Charlie Manuel give Ruiz the start against Johnson and Coste the start against Webb? Coste and Ruiz combined to go 1-5 with a walk in the two games.

In addition, Carlos Ruiz had started every game Cole Hamels had started this year except two (one of which was a below average start in Texas). After Hamels' 11-hit, bend-don't-break performance on Sunday, he has pitched above average in only one of three starts where Coste catches (CG SO against Atlanta).

Taking Hamels' apparent preference in pitching to Ruiz over Coste, and the two catchers' respective batting splits, it seems that it would have made much more sense for Manuel to start Coste on Saturday and Ruiz on Sunday.

On an unrelated note, I can't stand the all-star game or the Home Run Derby. I used to like the Home Run Derby, but then I realized Chris Berman was awful. And the all-star game deciding home field advantage in the World Series is perhaps the dumbest idea in professional sports. Other than, of course, having fans vote for the all-star game starters.