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 22, 2008

Game 157: This is why you don't use Lidge in 3-run games (89-68)

In yesterday's game post, I stated that it was a mistake to use Brad Lidge in a 3-run game. The chances of the Marlins scoring 3 runs in the 9th inning to tie the game are roughly 6%. Lidge has appeared in over 30 save situations of 2 runs or fewer this year in 157 opportunities. So, there's a much greater chance of Charlie needing Lidge to save a closer game the following day than there is of the Marlins tying a 5-2 game in the 9th. In short, it's almost always a mistake to use your closer in a 3-run game. Especially when your closer has thrown tons of pitches lately. Why is yesterday's Marlins game relevant? Because Lidge threw 29 pitches in the 9th inning in a 3-run game, and he was therefore unavailable to pitch in today's game. Thankfully, Pat Burrell hit a 3-run homer in the 8th inning with 2 outs to extend the Phils' lead from one run to four, so Lidge was not needed tonight anyway. Yet again, Manuel is bailed out by his players.

Since Lidge was unavailable, Rudy Seanez appeared in a situation where normally Chad Durbin or Ryan Madson appears. He pitched to lefty Kelly Johnson to lead off the 7th inning, who promptly tripled. Why not bring in Scott Eyre to start the inning to face Johnson for the lefty-lefty matchup? He retires lefties much more efficiently than Seanez. Anyway, once Johnson tripled, Seanez was left in there with nobody out and a man on third base. It is irresponsible to allow Seanez, one of the Phillies' below-average pitchers, to pitch in such a tight spot. At this point, Ryan Madson is the correct option. He has better numbers vs. both lefties and righties than Seanez does this year, and has a much higher strikeout rate. Nevertheless, Charlie let Seanez stay in the game. The Braves, however, failed to capitalize as Seanez and Eyre combined to close down the inning without allowing a run.

Fast forward to the 9th inning. With a 6-2 lead, Manuel decided to let Madson pitch. The Phillies' best reliever tonight was not used in a tie game with a man on third with nobody out, but apparently he was needed in a 4-run game with the bases empty. Poor managing. Madson pitched a scoreless ninth, but this is now 3 consecutive games he has appeared in. I will not be surprised at all if Madson is unavailable tomorrow night. Clay Condrey can be trusted in a bases loaded situation with 2 outs, with the Phils clinging to a one-run lead (see yesterday's game), but he can't be trusted in a bases empty, zero out situation with a FOUR RUN LEAD??? Charlie, you amaze me.

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