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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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game 10: Manuel kills another rally, Lidge's streak, game (4-6)

The Padres are a team the Phillies should demolish. They have zero left-handed pitchers ON THE ENTIRE TEAM.

In the bottom of the 7th of tonight's game, Lou Marson led off with a single. The score was tied 3-3, and the pitcher's spot was coming up. The pitcher on the mound was rookie right-hander Edwin Moreno. With the Phillies only needing one run and six more outs to win the game, I was fully expecting Greg Dobbs to march up to the plate. Miguel Cairo, however, was Manuel's choice. Why? TO GIVE THE PADRES A FREE OUT. Cairo bunted unsuccessfully, and Marson was stranded. The Padres took the lead in the top of the 8th without any sac-bunt attempts. It turns out it's easier to score runs when the defense needs to record 3 outs.

Let's move to the top of the 9th. The Phillies held a 5-4 lead with the top of the Padres' lineup due to bat. Four of the first five Padres' batters are left-handed (one is switch and the only righty is David Eckstein). It is no secret Lidge struggles against lefties, but since Scott Eyre was already used, J.A. Happ isn't really a reliever, and Jack Taschner is terrible, Manuel really had no option than to throw Lidge to the three lefties at the top of the order. If J.C. Romero weren't suspended for an illicit protein shake, I would have wanted the following: J.A. Happ to pitch to lead-off lefty Jody Gerut; then Chad Durbin to pitch to righty Eckstein; then J.C. Romero to pitch to lefties Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez. If the inning were not over after the first four batters, then I would have went to Lidge. But, we live in a world where Romero misses a third of the season while Jose Canseco makes coin.

Nevertheless, Lidge allowed Gerut to double to lead-off, then retired Eckstein on a groundout that advanced Gerut to third. For some reason, Charlie Manuel decided it was GOOD for his team if he allowed the Padres to tie the game. Brian Giles was the batter, and with one out and a man on third, Manuel refused to bring the infield in. Genius announcer Chris Wheeler explained that it's good to move the infield back in this situation because you don't want to give up an extra base hit; however, moving the infield back barely decreases the chances of a double down the line, but it ENTIRELY ERASES ANY CHANCE AT CUTTING DOWN THE RUN AT THE PLATE. Giles hit a two-bouncer right to Howard, and had he been playing even with the bag as he should have been, the Padres would have needed a two-out hit to tie the game. Instead, Manuel handed the Padres a run (to go along with the out he handed them for no reason in the 7th). Lidge then walked lefty Adrian Gonzalez and switch-hitting Chase Headley before allowing the dagger home run to righty Kevin Kouzmanoff.

If Manuel is playing for a tie when he's two outs from a victory and the go-ahead run isn't even on base, it's time to evaluate his strategy. Oh wait, he was lucky enough to lead a team that was 79-0 in games where they led after 8 innings last year, so it's a sin to say anything bad about Uncle Charlie.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you explain why you would REMOVE Eyre for a Cairo (righty) to bunt (with the Padres best lefty on deck and ZERO outs) in the 7th.

THEN
you use Dobbs in the 8th with TWO OUTS and a man of first (rather than letting Marson hit).


Do you believe the dobbs for marson(at bat), coste for marson(in the field) was a good switch?

-Steve Mix

Anonymous said...

and is it me, or has Madson been COMPLETLY type casted as the 8th inning guy?

is it extremely dangerous to pencil in the final 2 innings with two pitchers regardless of situations?

If we go 1-2-3 in the 8th, Lidge faces 7-8-9, rather than the top of the order which is left-handed heavy

-Steve Mix

Anonymous said...

haha i wouldnt say ryan "the bridge to lidge" madson has been typecasted as the 8th inning guy, well unless lidge pitches the 9th, then yes i would say he has been typecasted as the 8th inning guy

Andy Musser said...

It's always a bad idea to assign certain pitchers to certain innings. The only advantage resulting from that belongs to the opposing team's manager: if he knows who is pitching in the 8th and 9th, he knows who to use off his bench in the 6th/7th and who to save for the 8th/9th.

And I wouldn't necessarily call Madson the Bridge to Lidge, considering Romero pitched the 8th frequently last year.