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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Friday, August 28, 2009

Game 125: Happ blows lead in complete-game loss (73-52)

J.A. Happ pitched 8 innings last night, allowing only 3 runs to the Pirates in the Phillies' 3-2 loss. Happ pitched brilliantly the entire night until allowing a 2-run homer to Garrett Jones in the 8th inning. The Phils led most of the game by a score of 2-1 thanks to a Paul Bako home run.

You can't fault Charlie Manuel for allowing Happ to pitch the 8th inning, especially since the bullpen has been more-than-shaky lately. My only question to Manuel would have been why he allowed both Pedro Feliz and Paul Bako to bat in the 9th inning after the Pirates had taken the lead. Ben Francisco is a much better hitter than both of those players, and both Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz were still available to play either third base or catcher, depending upon which player would have been replaced. Feliz grounded out to start the 9th inning while Bako singled, but Matt Stairs struck out before a Jimmy Rollins groundout to end the game. Why not pinch hit Francisco for Feliz at that point? You need baserunners, and Francisco's .320 career OBP vs. RHP is much more reliable than Feliz's .287 number. If Francisco gets on and the Phillies tie the game, then Bruntlett can come in to play third base. Manuel did not maximize the strength of his bench at the end of the game, and the Phils went down quietly.

They try to rebound tonight in Philadelphia against Atlanta at 7:05 pm when RHP Pedro Martinez faces RHP Tommy Hanson.

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