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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Monday, September 1, 2008

Game 138: Kendrick continues to pitch poorly (75-63)

This game was lost in the bottom of the 4th inning. Kyle Kendrick, whose WHIP is up to a ghastly 1.58 (Adam Eaton's 2007 WHIP: 1.62), allowed two singles to start the inning, then got his first out by retiring the pitcher. The second out of the inning came when Kendrick picked a runner off second. So, Kendrick really never earned a legitimate out that inning. After he picked the runner off, he allowed a two-out triple to make the score 3-0 Nats. The next batter doubled to make the score 4-0. To recap: Every non-pitcher he faced this inning to this point either singled, doubled, or tripled.

At this point of the inning, Kendrick was clearly getting shelled, and he was very lucky to have 2 outs. He was 80 pitches deep, and Ryan Zimmerman was coming to the plate. Kendrick had walked Zimmerman twice this game already. Also, his spot was due up 4th the following inning, so it was pretty obvious that this would be his last inning. So why would you let a tired, below-average, non-strikeout pitcher face the most talented hitter in the Nats' lineup? The excuse "Oh, our bullpen is tired, we needed to see if Kendrick could recover" doesn't work in this situation for two reasons: 1) You're down 4-0, and you're going to pinch-hit for Kendrick in the next inning anyway. It doesn't matter if he can recover. 2) As of today, rosters have expanded - so it doesn't matter that your bullpen is tired. There are new, fresh arms out there. If there's ever a day to have a quick hook on your pitcher, it's September 1st.

What happened, you ask? Zimmerman homered to make the score 6-0. Ryan Madson could easily have come in to pitch in that situation. Yes, it isn't ideal to use Madson for only one batter, but with Kendrick allowing 4 hits to 4 batters in the inning, with 80 pitches under his belt, you have to realize that Madson is the better option. In that situation, using the run frequency matrix, the Nationals have roughly the same chance of scoring as they do with nobody on and nobody out. So, while Madson would only pitch to one batter, his performance would be just as valuable as a 1-2-3 inning. Factor in the fact that their best hitter is at the plate, the numbers are even more in favor of using Madson. Plus, since Madson had pitched yesterday, he probably wouldn't have been used to throw more than one inning in today's game anyway.

We aren't blaming this loss on Manuel. When we tally up the games that Manuel has lost at the end of the year, this won't be one of them. But it wasn't the best day for Uncle Charlie.

POSITIVE NOTE:

Although the Phils lost a game on the Mets today, it isn't the end of the world: the Mets had their best pitcher start, and the Phils had their worst pitcher start. As long as they win the next two games, the Phils will be fine.

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