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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Game 133: Strange roster move costs Phillies (73-60)

Last night the Phils had a chance to beat the Mets for the third time this season in a game that Johan Santana had started. With a 3-2 lead entering the 8th inning, and Luis Castillo-David Wright-Carlos Delgado due up, Charlie Manuel opted to go with Rudy Seanez. Now, defenders of Manuel will say that J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, and Chad Durbin were all unavailable so Manuel had no choice but to use Seanez. But let's analyze the situation a little deeper.

The Phillies essentially had Rudy Seanez and Brad Lidge to get the final six outs of the game. In the 8th inning, the Mets had the 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Anyone in the ballpark would know that the Mets had a better chance of tying the game in the 8th inning than the 9th, simply because they had the meat of their order due to bat. Manuel has to know this as well. Why, then, would he use the weaker of his two options against the heart of the lineup? Just because the scoreboard says "8th inning" instead of "9th inning"? I guess so. That seems like a pretty weak reason to allow Rudy Seanez to face Carlos Delgado. Think about this: Even if you use Brad Lidge for the 8th, Seanez doesn't necessarily have to pitch the 9th. There is a chance Lidge has a 7 or 10 pitch inning and is more than capable of pitching the 9th as well. Clearly, Manuel wasn't afraid of using Lidge in the 8th inning, since he came in with the score tied and 2 outs in the 8th anyway. If Lidge starts the 8th, maybe Delgado still homers, but obviously the chances of that happening are lower than they were against the 67-year old Seanez.

Let's look at the Delgado at-bat a little closer. Ideally, Seanez would have been removed from the game after the first two outs of the 8th inning for a left-hander to pitch to Delgado. However, Scott Eyre had already been removed from the game, and Romero was unavailable to pitch due to his extreme use in the past few days. Andrew Carpenter, a right-handed reliever, was promoted from Reading before the game to "help out" the depleted bullpen. My question is this: if you know that Kyle Kendrick is starting, you also know that the Mets are going to have a lineup chock full of left-handed bats. Knowing that, combined with the fact that Romero was unavailable, why would the Phillies opt to promote a right-handed reliever with a 4.68 ERA in the minors? J.A. Happ, Les Walrond, and R.J. Swindle have all spent time in the bullpen this year, and they all throw with their left hand. The fact that Scott Eyre, who was unemployed only a couple weeks ago, is your only lefty available should have prompted a smarter roster move than Carpenter.

1 comment:

Scott Graham said...

Did you see? They sent Carpenter back down for Fabio Castro, a southpaw. Good timing.