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, May 2, 2009

Game 22: Important game? Let's bench our best hitter (12-10)

Well, after a grueling stretch of 1 game in the previous 1 day, Charlie Manuel felt that today's game vs. the Mets was a perfect time to give Chase Utley some rest. Eric Bruntlett, who actually hits lefties pretty well, was his replacement. I am not sure if Manuel's motivation was to rest Utley or to give Bruntlett a chance to hit against LHP Oliver Perez, but either way, the decision is outrageous. Utley doesn't need rest: there was an off-day on Thursday. And, if Bruntlett needed a start, he should have played third. I don't need stats to tell you that Utley is better than Feliz against LHP. Instead, in a game against a team that is certainly his biggest rival, Manuel thought it would help his team to make Utley watch from the dugout.

Other than benching his best hitter, Manuel's first big mistake came in the top of the 6th inning. The score was 4-4, and Jamie Moyer just allowed back-to-back homers to the 7-8 hitters to tie the game. A pinch-hitter was announced: lefty Alex Cora. Manuel, for no reason whatsoever, allowed Moyer to pitch to this pinch-hitter even though he had a lefty, Scott Eyre, ready in the bullpen. You may be saying that Manuel did not want to yank Moyer so early, but Manuel yanked Moyer IMMEDIATELY AFTER HE ALLOWED A TRIPLE TO CORA. It's absurd, on so many levels, because Eyre came into the game to face THREE CONSECUTIVE SWITCH-HITTERS. Everybody on Earth, except Manuel, knows Eyre can't get righties out (righties own a .369 OBP against him for his career). Eyre pitched to the three righties, allowed all 3 to reach base, and then was lifted for Clay Condrey. Thankfully, Condrey bailed out both Eyre and Manuel by stranding the bases loaded and keeping the score at 5-4, Mets. Ibanez tied the game in the bottom of the inning with his homer: another instance of this absurdly powerful lineup masking the gross incompetence of the manager.

In the bottom of the 7th while the score was still tied, with Utley, Matt Stairs, and Greg Dobbs all available on the bench, Eric Bruntlett came to the plate against RHP Bob Purnell. There was one out and a man on first. Apparently, Manuel figured Bruntlett's .279 OBP vs. RHP was appropriate for a late-game situation with a runner on base. If he inserted Utley at this point, Utley could have remained in the game to play second, and he would have had a SECOND plate appearance in the 9th or 10th inning. Manuel's nap, however, remained uninterrupted as Bruntlett grounded into an inning-ending double play.

When Utley finally came to the plate in the 8th inning, he batted in the pitcher's spot and did not remain in the game for possible future at-bats. It's certifiably insane, really, that Utley's only at-bat came in the 8th with nobody on base as opposed to the situation in the 7th, and it's even worse he didn't stay in the game.

I was fine with Jack Taschner's appearance in the 10th inning because he faced two lefties out of the first three hitters, and the only other options each pitched multiple innings yesterday.

The mass media will tell you that Charlie Manuel did a fantastic job of using his bench players Stairs, Dobbs, and Chris Coste in the 10th inning (which he did), but they will leave out his mistakes from innings 1-9.

A good win for the Phils: it's always good to see that Mets' bullpen fail. Rubber match tomorrow at 1:35, RHP Joe Blanton vs. RHP John Maine.


Anonymous said...

if fox said that the nascar coverage was on SPEED on more time, i would have seriously injured joe buck

Craig Mactavish said...

cheer anonymous above me and also Joe Buck for pointing out Manuel's mistake of batting the lumberjack pre-double play at bat instead of Utley.
Muck the Fets and their new bullpen which walk in runs to lose

Anonymous said...

The phillies have the goofiest bench in baseball.

The Utah Jazz play in "Energy Solutions Arena," the Eagles have been running a recycling campaign for at least 2 seasons, and the Phillies are following suit, let's watch a "sport" that destroys the environment.

Hey, let's not only destroy the environment, but claim the sport is on illegal narcotics.

Craig Mactavish said...

I would never mock professional sports for going green. I feel it is a much better advertisement to the people than a billboard conveying the fact that we don't take care of the Earth like the Native Americans have before us