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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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Game 108: Manuel panics, uses Durbin unnecessarily in sweep (59-49)

In the 9th inning, with the Phillies owning an 8-4 lead with 2 outs and nobody on base, Rudy Seanez walked Ryan Langerhans. Charlie Manuel apparently felt that a 97.5% chance of winning was too small to trust with Seanez, so he brought in Chad Durbin. Now, Durbin only threw five pitches and should certainly be available for tomorrow, but it was his third appearance in as many days. If Durbin got in some trouble and threw a bunch of pitches in a game where he was not needed, then he may have ended up being unavailable for tomorrow's game at St. Louis. Luckily, he threw only five pitches to end the game. It is not necessary to risk losing a top reliever for a game against a powerful lineup (St. Louis) to squelch a 2.5% chance of a comeback by the worst lineup in the league (Washington). Leave Seanez in there to finish the job and use Durbin, J.A. Happ, or J.C. Romero if another runner or two reach base.

Also, in the top of the 4th inning with only a three-run lead, Shane Victorino attempted to steal third base with two outs and Pat Burrell at the plate. He was thrown out to end the inning. John Lannan, a lefty, was the pitcher at the time, and Burrell is fantastic against lefties. With Victorino's speed and Burrell's prowess against left-handers, Manuel has to have a hold on Victorino in that situation since he is already in scoring position.

Thankfully, the Phils were playing a double-A team this week, so none of their mental mistakes cost them any ground in the standings. On to St. Louis to play the Cards for the seventh, eighth, and ninth times this year...while the Mets get to play Colorado nine times and St. Louis only seven. The Phils, meanwhile, play Colorado only five times this year. If they finish one game back of the Mets, we can thank the unbalanced scheduling and Charlie Manuel. In reverse order.