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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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Game 131: Phillies allow 13 hits, zero runs (72-59)

Charlie Manuel did a nice job of allowing Clay Condrey to both start and finish the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead. He allowed two baserunners, but Manuel did not panic and use Brad Lidge unnecessarily (we have seen much of that this year).

However, Manuel was not without fault tonight. In the top of the 7th, Brett Myers loaded the bases with only one out. Jeff Kent came to the plate, with Manny Ramirez on deck. Myers had 101 pitches at this point and he has allowed a startling 26 homers in 143.3 innings this year. My question is this: If this is his last inning anyway, why gamble with Myers pitching to two home run hitters (that represent the go-ahead run) in a small ballpark? According to the trusty run frequency chart, the Dodgers had a 26.7% chance of tying the game when Kent stepped up to the plate. In comparison, a team that is behind by two runs entering the ninth inning has a 14.9% chance of tying the game. If Lidge is the no-brainer option with a 4-2 lead in the ninth, why isn't he the option with only one out and the bases loaded with Kent and Ramirez coming up? Manuel can bring in Lidge to shut down the righties, then: either leave Lidge in (depending on his pitch count) for the 8th, or trust the pen with a 3-0 lead and six outs remaining. If you can trust a 101-pitch-deep Myers and a reliever to get 5 outs (the end of the 7th and the 8th), then you can certainly trust two relievers to get six outs.

Fortunately, Myers retired both Kent and Ramirez. Manny flied out to deep right field, narrowly missing a grand slam. Phillies fans would be calling for Manuel's head had that fly ball gone 10 feet farther - but since they won, it's a non-issue and you will not hear any analysis about this decision. Except, of course, here at the Manual.

NOTE: Ryan Madson (righties gain an XBH at a 7.1% pace against him) would also be a better option than Myers (9.4%) with Kent coming up in that situation...but Lidge (5.8%) is the best. Keep in mind that we're talking about a fresh Madson/Lidge compared to a 101-pitch-deep Myers. Manuel gambled unnecessarily, but got lucky that Ramirez just missed a devastating grand slam.

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