1) I've received several emails over the past couple of weeks asking what has happened to Chris Coste's catchers mask. He used to sport a nifty little number that features the drawings of a Liberty Bell and the Phillies "P" insignia. Now, he wears an ugly solid red headpiece. And, as we all know, fashion is all about accessorizing. I actually talked to Coste at the beginning of the season a couple of days after he made the change, but didn't think it would be of interest to anybody. But I guess I was wrong. Yesterday I doubled back to make sure I had the details right. Pretty much, Coste has always worn a helmet manufactured by the equipment company All-Star. Its the helmet he's worn behind the plate throughout his first three seasons in the bigs. But early this year, right around the time the Phillies visited Arizona if I recall correctly, the MLBPA sent Coste a letter informing him that his helmet was suddenly in violation of a new equipment contract the league had signed with Wilson. He had two options: wear a Wilson helmet, or get rid of the design-laden All-Star helmet and trade it in for a blank All-Star helmet. He tried the Wilson one, but had a couple of problems with it: first, he didn't like the view from behind the cage. Second, he didn't feel like it offered enough neck protection. So he switched to the ugly blank number you see him wearing now. He has since labelled the rule "Asinine." In fact, he spelled it out for me yesterday: "A-S-I-N-I-N-E." He is a published writer, after all.
2) On to some baseball stuff: So much of the focus was on Brett Myers last night that I didn't pay much attention to one of the big stats to come out of the game: the bottom of the order out-hit the top of the order 5-4. I don't think there is any question that players like Utley, Rollins and Howard need to hit well in order for the Phillies to become a true World Series contender. But the bottom of the order plays a big role itself. You saw how important production down there can be when Chris Coste reached base and ultimately scored on a Jayson Werth double. In fact, the Phillies No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 hitters -- Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and Coste -- scored all four of their runs.
3) I didn't end up writing about this. And, frankly, it was pretty irrelevant by the end of the game. But the gentleman in the elevator told me he was interested in hearing the explanation for the play, so I figure I'll fill him (and you) in. The play where Chris Coste was caught stealing in the top of the seventh was as it appeared: it was supposed to be a hit-and-run, with Brett Myers laying down a bunt and Coste getting a head start en route to second. But Myers missed the sign and didn't offer at the bunt. Coste, who isn't exactly Rocket Man on the basepaths, was dead in the water. Or dirt.
4) Got some confirmation yesterday that the club did indeed shell out $550,000 for 38th-round draft pick Jarred Cosart. So that's two players the Phillies went well above slot in order to keep. While Jon Pettibone, who got $500,000, seemed like he wanted to turn pro regardless of the scholarship from USC he was using as leverage, Cosart seemed perfectly content to attend the University of Missouri. But the Phillies love this kid's upside as a righthanded pitcher, and they were determined to get him into the system.
5) Tonight might be the toughest game of the series. Tim Redding has been lights out in two of his three outings against the Phils. They got to him last time in late July, but in two starts prior he pitched a total of 13 scoreless innings.
6) In that vein, it'll be interesting to see how Kyle Kendrick responds to this rough patch he is currently in. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said yesterday Kendrick suddenly seems scared of contact, that he isn't attacking the strike zone the way he did when he was successful. We'll have to see how that plays itself out tomorrow tonight.