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, July 11, 2009

Game 85: Phillies hide Manuel's mistakes with wild comeback (47-38)

The Phillies won an insane game tonight, even though they were trailing by four runs after 8 innings. Fantastic -- but Mr. Manuel actually managed pretty poorly.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, the Phillies had two runners on base with two outs, trailing only 5-3. The Pirates had RHP Jesse Chavez on the mound and the Phillies had the pitcher's spot coming to the plate. For some unknown reason, Charlie Manuel decided to use RHB John Mayberry as a pinch-hitter even though LHP Matt Stairs was available. Mayberry flied out to end the inning.

Manuel probably figured that the Pirates would simply use a LHP if Matt Stairs were announced as a PH. However, Stairs vs. a lefty pitcher is more favorable for the Phillies than Mayberry vs. a righty pitcher. For his career, Stairs owns a respectable .329 OBP against LHP (Ryan Howard, for comparison, is below .310). Mayberry, on the other hand, only managed a career .331 OBP against ALL PITCHERS in the minor leagues. Obviously, Stairs vs. a lefty is better than Mayberry vs. a righty. Plus, there's no guarantee a LHP even enters the game. Manuel botched that one pretty badly. I suppose he was saving Stairs for a guaranteed AB against a righty (he homered in the 9th to begin the comeback), but with two men on base you have to use your best option while trailing by mulptiple runs.

Also, in the top of the 7th inning, Chad Durbin loaded the bases with one out, and a LHB was due up for the Pirates. Charlie Manuel decided to use Scott Eyre instead of JC Romero against this lefty. For his career, Eyre has allowed LHBs to reach at a .323 OBP. Romero? .310 OBP/.290 (!!!) SLG. Eyre walked the lefty to force in a run. Manuel botched this one as well.

Not only did the manager contribute to killing the Phils' rally in the 6th, but he contributed to the two runs the Pirates scored in the top of the 7th. A 4-run game is completely different than a 2-run game. Unacceptable. Of course, because the Phillies have an incredible lineup, nobody will even mention Manuel's using Eyre instead of Romero in a big spot.

The Phils play tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 pm in an attempt to sweep their final series before the all-star break: LHP J.A. Happ faces RHP Virgil Vasquez.

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