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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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Game 92: Manuel wins by virtue of being not as dumb as La Russa (49-43)

Do not let the headline imply that Manuel managed well, because he did not. Bringing Chad Durbin in the 7th inning with 2 men in scoring position with one out was not an awful move, but that situation (high-leverage) is ideal for Brad Lidge and his 1.00 ERA and fantastic K/9 ratio. Durbin allowed both inherited runners to score, whereas Lidge may have stranded one or two (since, after all, he is the better pitcher). The reasoning behind bringing in Lidge in that situation is simple. The run expectancy matrix states that with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, the offense is expected to score 1.467 runs. With bases empty and zero outs (i.e., the beginning of the inning) the offense is expected to score 0.555 runs. Therefore, when Manuel made the decision to bring Durbin in the 7th and save Lidge for the 9th, he decided that Durbin is the man to pitch in the 1.467 expected-run situation while Lidge is the man to pitch in the 0.555 expected-run situation. Bad decision, bad result, good ending.

Tony La Russa, often hailed as the best manager in the game, decided to let both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard bat against Kyle McClellan, a righthander. Ron Villone, a lefthander, was still available. McClellan has good numbers against lefties, but so does Villone. Considering that Howard really struggles against lefties, I would say that allowing Howard to face someone other than Villone in the 8th was a terrible decision. What happened, you ask? Utley hit one to the warning track, and Howard won the game with the homer off the righty. We would say La Russa is crazy, but maybe he was just drunk off his ass.

**Happy Elton Brand Day**