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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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game 153: Charlie misuses Romero again in victory (86-67)

In the bottom of the 7th inning with a 4-2 lead, Ryan Madson retired the first two batters, but then allowed Kelly Johnson to reach base on a Ryan Howard error (which was later changed to an infield hit). At this point, with a man on first base with two outs, Chipper Jones came to the plate representing the tying run. Jones is a switch hitter and bats better from the left side, but Madson actually has better numbers against lefties than Brad Lidge. So, leaving Madson in to face Jones was a good decision. Madson walked Jones, bringing Brian McCann to the plate representing the go-ahead run.

McCann, a lefty, is more dangerous against RHP than LHP (.363/.516 career OBP/SLG vs. RHP, .342/.462 vs LHP). Although Madson is better against lefties than most RHP (.326 OBP-against), he is not nearly as effective against lefties as J.C. Romero (.188 OBP). Romero was the clear option in this situation. He is twice as likely to retire Brian McCann than Madson, and in a 2-run game with two men on base, it is irresponsible to allow Madson to pitch to McCann. McCann ended up reaching on a bloop-error to shallow left field, scoring one run. Manuel allowed the Braves to cut the lead in half, and he was lucky that Madson retired Omar Infante to end the inning. If McCann doubles in two runs in that situation, which he is more likely to do against Madson than Romero, the game is tied instead of only 4-3 Phils.

In the bottom of the 8th with the score still 4-3, Romero pitched against a lefty, Casey Kotchman, to start the inning. He retired Kotchman. Then, Jeff Francoeur was due up. Although he is having a poor year, Francoeur, a righty, is much more dangerous facing Romero (who allows righties to reach base nearly 45% of the time). Francoeur smoked a line drive to right field, which was only inches away from falling for a one-out double. Luckily, it hung up for Jayson Werth and out number two. Romero then allowed a lefty to reach base with 2 outs, and retired righty Yunel Escobar to end the 8th inning. Ideally, Chad Durbin should have faced Francoeur, or, if not, he should have come into the game to retire Escobar. Allowing Romero to face any righty with the tying run on base is simply poor managing.

Manuel rolled the dice unnecessarily, and won.

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