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 25, 2008

Game 159: Ideal matchup? Best hitter vs bad pitcher (89-70)

Myers did not have his best stuff last night, which now makes 2 consecutive shaky starts. While Manuel did let him try to work through it again, he did semi-promptly remove Myers before it got too bad. Honestly, I think he copied what Cox did a little bit earlier in removing Reyes from the game (I doubt he thought of this on his own, and I did feel he could have removed him a little earlier. He had given up 9 hits through 3 innings), but who knows. Bringing in Durbin was a good move here (who knows though if Madson hadn't been overworked recently). Durbin probably should have been out of/ or at least close to out of the inning if it wasn't for Howard's throwing error. Nonetheless it happened, and we must move forward analyzing the decisions Manuel had to make after this point.

With the score 6-3, and 2 outs, Bobby Cox had Chipper Jones PH with 2 men on. An excellent strategy for the Braves as Jones is their best hitter. At this point, Manuel has to know that Jones's splits vs righties and lefties are pretty close, while he is slightly better when batting left handed. With this in mind, it is probably the best strategy to use one of the best pitchers available to get Chipper out. There just has to be this sense of urgency at this crucial juncture of the game. There are 2 men on base for one of the disputable MVPs in the NL this year. Just trying to get the out isn't acceptable. Scott Eyre, owner of a career WHIP of about 1.5 and a pitcher who does much worse against righties than lefties, is probably one of the worst choices available (at least he didn't use Romero!!!). Madson does very well for a righty against lefties, and Durbin was probably not a viable option either (OBP vs LHB > .400). So removing him was correct. However, Madson did not pitch the night of Hamels start, giving him one night off (was this not enough from all the overuse recently?), he probably could have been used to alleviate the threat. Using a pitcher who is clearly worse against opposite handed batters (Eyre is left-handed, Jones would thus bat right-handed) is probably one of the worst decisions a manager could make. This is not second guessing, I was truly stunned when Eyre made his way out of the bullpen.

After Jones's 3 run homer the score was 9-3, and I couldn't bear to watch any longer.

1.5 games up with 3 to play. I hope I see J.A. Happ pitching Sunday when I go to the game.

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