Charlie Manuel frequently makes poor strategic decisions. The 11-million dollar scoreboard in left field would probably do a similar job. We guarantee a post analyzing Manuel's decisions for every Phillies game. Please click on our aliases below to email us.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chomping at the Bit

As you all know by now, the Phillies of late have not looked like their usual selves at the plate. It has been hard to pinpoint the source of the problems, but one huge problem is the lack of plate discipline the Phillies team exhibits. Many players go up to the plate, and for whatever reason, seem way too eager to swing at anything that is thrown to them. As we know by now, Pedro Feliz is a hacker (not excusing his ridiculously poor at bats), but we're also seeing it out of many other vital players. In the first game of the three game series vs the A's, Pedro Feliz had 5 ABs and saw 5 total pitches. Also, in the day game in Oakland, in Ryan Howard's first 3 ABs, he saw a total of 4 pitches. As a team, the Phillies rank 9th in the NL in pitches seen per plate appearance.

Furthermore, in numerous situations in recent weeks, Greg Dobbs has insisted on swinging at terrible 2-0 pitches (day game vs Boston, day game vs A's, etc.). Also, I'm sure we all remember the 2-0 pitch Taguchi swung at in the 9th vs the Angels to end the final game of the series. Something seriously seems to elude everyone on the Phils with the exception of Pat Burrell. Walks are very good and serve almost the same purpose as a single. At the very least, walks ensure that a pitcher throws four pitches in the AB, and the quicker a team can get to the bullpen by running up the starter's pitch count, the better.

Now, much can be made that the players should be able to figure this out themselves, but the manager can also actively encourage this and tell players to work counts. Manuel could also help out by instituting a take sign (we all know there cannot possibly be one with some of the terrible swings in great counts). It is inexcusable to see a player swinging at a bad pitch in a good count (0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1). These are all counts where if the pitch isn't one you dream of clobbering, you shouldn't be getting yourself out by swinging at it. At this level of play, this knowledge should be ingrained in players brains, but if not, take signs can also do the trick. It's getting very old watching the Phils kill innings by getting themselves out, and Charlie "hitting guru" Manuel shouldn't allow this to happen.
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