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, October 30, 2008

Charlie Manuel: Not perfect, but better than the rest

Charlie Manuel is not perfect. In fact, he's not a great in-game, strategic manager, but he obviously knows how to lead a baseball team and keep the players focused.

While he may not be a flawless strategist, he is by no means the worst. We have always viewed Charlie fairly on this site while pointing out his mistakes, because we never fail to acknowledge when he manages more effectively than his counterpart.

In the World Series, it was Joe Maddon. Maddon inexplicably allowed J.P. Howell, a lefty, to pitch to Pat Burrell to lead off the 7th. There is literally no rational explanation for this move, no matter how many four-syllable words Maddon may use in his press conference. Burrell smokes lefties, with an OBP well over .400, as opposed to a much more human .351 against righties. In perhaps his last plate appearance as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Pat the Bat popped a ball about 405 feet, just missing a home run. The leadoff double proved the difference in the game after Pedro Feliz drove in Burrell's pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett with a one-out single. What made Maddon's move even stranger was that he removed Howell after the Burrell double. There is no batter in the Phillies lineup who hits lefties better than Burrell. So if you're going to allow Howell to pitch to one batter in this inning, why is it Burrell? If you're going to a righty after Burrell, what possible reason do you have to allow Burrell to see a lefty? Manuel has made some bad decisions, even in the playoffs, but none has been as bad as this from Maddon.

Yes, Manuel should not have allowed J.C. Romero to pitch to B.J. Upton with a runner on first and zero outs in the 8th inning. Upton has a high OBP vs. lefties, but, as we have stated before, his SLG% is actually higher against RHP than LHP. Thus, as long as a LHP can throw strikes to Upton, the advantage Upton has over lefties is somewhat neutralized. Plus, Romero faced two lefties before Upton and one after, so while Manuel's decision was disagree-able, it was not entirely indefensible. The same cannot be said for Maddon regarding the Howell-Burrell matchup, however. Enjoy that wine collection, Renaissance Man!

The point is this:

Charlie Manuel out-managed Ned Yost in the most critical regular-season series: a four-game sweep over Milwaukee in September, thrusting the Phillies into the heart of a pennant race. Charlie Manuel out-managed Dale Sveum in the NLDS. Charlie Manuel out-managed Joe Torre and his spacious schnozz in the NLCS. And, most importantly, Charlie Manuel out-managed the wine-collecting, horn-rimmed glasses wearing, quasi-intellectual shell of a manager that the Tampa Bay Rays trotted out there. I'll tell you what: Manuel may not be the most articulate guy in the world, but he managed this team way better than Maddon managed the Rays. I'd rather have a decent manager who is entirely honest and genuine in his press conferences, which Manuel undoubtedly is, instead of a choke-job manager who intentionally plays up his vocabulary and psychology in his press conferences.

Charlie, thank you for proving this is a baseball team, not a debate team.

Manuel 1, Maddon 0.

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