Chris Coste continues to hit and has unofficially knocked Carlos Ruiz from his starting catcher role. Unlike previous situations, this platoon is atypically, and refreshingly, blase.
Coste’s story is well known, following the March release of his autobiography, but enough cannot be said about this 1000-to-1 oddity, this independent league refugee, who’s earning at least half of the starts behind home plate on what’s shaping up to be the best Phillies team since 1993. The 35-year-old is hitting .313/.374/.545 with 6 homers and a 134 OPS+. He’s tied for third in the National League with seven Win Shares.
Manager Charlie Manuel has been known to be rigid in his platoons, but this one is uncharacteristically unfussy. His nightly choice seems to be driven by shielding Ruiz from left-handed pitching, but it’s hard to say for certain. Ruiz, himself an underdog story, earned the start Saturday against Atlanta’s Jo-Jo Reyes, but before that, his last start against a lefty came May 11, also against Reyes. Lifetime, Chooch is a .206/.299/.353 hitter against left-handers. The pitching assignments reveal no real pattern. Coste has been handling Brett Myers just a little more lately, while Cole Hamels has been working with Chooch. One thing is certain, however. It’s a very comfortable situation for Manuel, free of complications or drawbacks. Each catcher brings something to the table. They’re interchangeable, they’re productive and they’re getting good starts from their battery mates.
Below the fold in 10 seconds: Geoff Jenkins (.281/.324/.444) is getting closer to producing career averages. ... Here’s Shane Victorino’s OBP before Manuel declared Jayson Werth the starting center fielder: .296. Here it is now: .365. ... Opponents are hitting just .179/.258/.214 off Ryan Madson when he leads off an inning.