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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Friday, August 8, 2008

Game 115: Manuel: "I love doing things to hurt our chances" (62-53)

Manuel was soooo close to making it through the game mistake free. Had the offense scored at any point in the 1st 8 innings, he would have done it. However, yet again the Phils looked like goons at the plate. Manuel even managed to keep Durbin in for the first batter of the 9th inning (a righty) before bringing in Romero to face lefties. This was good. However, Werth got on to start the bottom of the 9th for the Phillies. At this point the Phils had a 43.7% chance of scoring a run. Manuel decided that this was too good, and accordingly tried hurt the team's chances by attempting to bunt Werth to 2nd with Coste. Had this attempt been successful, the team's chances to score would still have been hurt. They would have dropped from 43.7% to 40.6%.

Somehow though, Mr. Musser and I are aware of this inexplicably esoteric fact that bunting is hard, especially for people who don't do it often (Coste has 4 career successful sac hits), and even when occasionally successful, often do not even help the teams chances to score (only really helps when taking a man from second to third from 0 to 1 out). Furthermore, Manuels obvious motivation for moving Werth to second and sacrificing Coste and an out (against a lefty the Pirates brought in) was to bring up better hitters to get the job done. On deck and in the hole? Eric Bruntlett and Mike Cervenak. I like Coste's chances better for some reason. But, as we all know, Coste popped the bunt up foul for out number one (shocker). On that same topic (only becuase Manuel didn't learn a damn thing), Rollins came up in the next inning with a man on 1st and 0 outs. Rollins successfully(?) bunted Ruiz to second, to again hurt the team's chances to score. Outs are very important, and should not be wasted in such a manner.

Next order of business. Brad Lidge is brought in with 2 outs in the 10th. It took him a while, but he eventually got out of the inning. Lidge was stuggling, and threw 24 pitches. Manuel felt the need to take him out of the game in the 11th. This is okay, I guess. However, one would assume that Manuel would bring in a good pitcher. You know, Madson (was he even there?), Condrey, or even newcomer Scott Eyre. The last person who should be in that game is Les Walrond, but he pitched for some reason. He got out of the 11th okay, I guess. So Manuel decided to let him pitch another inning. Due up in the 12th was Doumit, Moss, and Pearce (S,L,R). Manuel thinks it's a good idea to leave the team's worst pitcher in the game for his second inning of work. Pearce came up to the plate with a man on third, one out, and a .295 OBP vs righties and a .333 OBP against lefties. Manuel leaves Walrond in still. Needless to say it doesn't work out.

Many of these situations could have been avoided altogether had the offense not wasted yet another good outing from a Phillies pitcher, but again they were nowhere to be found. The Phils should have swept the Pirates this weekend, but this is now impossible. Hopefully Myers keeps it up tomorrow. Who knows though, some people think the more the offense feels the need to score to help the pitcher out, the better they do. This is opposed to the idea that players don't feel urgency when they have better pitchers on the mound. This makes no sense, but hey as FJM has pointed out, baseball players have said it, and this must make it right.

In much happier news, Mr. Musser's brother, Randy, is getting married tomorrow. We here at Charlie's Manuel (by we I mean me and Andy) wish him the best of luck.

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