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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coste to DH

Chris Coste will DH tonight. He owns a .363 OBP vs. left-handers, and a .881 OPS. Thats not a bad choice at all by Uncle Charlie. However, choosing Coste as the DH means there is no backup catcher on the bench. If Ruiz is at the plate in a situation where a pinch-hitter is needed, Manuel will be less likely to use his bench. Removing Ruiz will be much more difficult than usual. If he is removed, Coste will move from DH to catcher. Once that happens, the Phillies would have to forfeit the DH and the pitcher will then have to bat in Ruiz's spot.

I called for Eric Bruntlett to play left field and Burrell to DH. However, Coste reaches base at about the same rate as Bruntlett against lefties (.363 to Bruntlett's .361), and slugs much higher (.519 to .380). Coste is a better offensive choice, but the defense is not improved. A good job by Charlie to insert Coste into the lineup.

My question is this: if you're going to insert your backup catcher into the lineup, why lock him into the DH slot? He must stay the DH the entire game, and as I said, if he switches to catcher to relieve Ruiz, the DH will disappear and the pitcher must bat. Howard isn't the best defensive first baseman, and frequently makes throwing errors. Coste, on the other hand, is a decent defensive first baseman who has a strong, accurate arm. If Manuel puts Coste at first and Howard at DH, you can pinch hit for Ruiz more easily - because Coste can move from first to catcher while the DH remains untouched.

It's a small criticism, but there's literally no risk in making Howard the DH and Coste the first baseman.

Go Phils.

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