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, September 10, 2009

Game 138: Blanton struggles, Phils fall just short (79-59)

The Phils failed to complete the sweep tonight as Joe Blanton struggled for the first time in a while. A 5-run Nationals 5th extended the score to 8-2. Manuel used Tyler Walker, Chad Durbin, and Brad Lidge to pitch in the seemingly meaningless innings. No complaints here.

Just when everyone counted them out (myself included), the Phillies made a valiant effort at a comeback victory in the 9th inning. After the Nats opened up a window for the Phils on a Jayson Werth ground ball that SS Desmond threw well over Adam Dunn's head, Pedro Feliz, and Carlos Ruiz both reached base. PH Matt Stairs promptly hit a GS to put the Phillies within 2. Everything seemed to be going great as the score was 8-7 with 1 out and runners on the corners for Howard. However, HP ump Dale Scott blew any chances the Phillies had of winning the game. The first pitch to Howard was inside, from a LHP! Not that it ever crossed the plate, but viewers and HP umpires alike must understand the concept that a pitch from a lefty that is caught over the inside corner (for a LHB) never crossed the plate. The projection from the camera angle distorts all pitches we see, and as a result, each pitch seems farther right than it actually is. Nieves caught the pitch inside, so there was no chance that it was a strike. Howard complained to Scott, who was awful the whole game, but his sanity was already lost.

I will never approve of 3 consecutive lefties no matter how well Raul is playing at the time. Manuel plays directly into the oppositions plans by allowing a LHP to come in to face the Phils 3 LHBs with little threat. It baffles me how Manuel can even consider putting his 2nd highest OBP in the 6th lineup slot. Thank goodness Werth is getting on base 37.3% of the time for Feliz, Ruiz, and the pitcher's spot. Does anyone else understand how it makes sense to place players with high OBPs in front of people with higher slugging? Get on base and get knocked in. Makes sense to me. Utley should bat 2nd. He has an OBP of .411. Werth should bat 3rd (OBP=.373). Howard should bat 4th (OBP of .350 and SLG of .563). Ibanez 5th (.346/.567). Victorino should bat leadoff (OBP = .363), and Rollins should bat 6th.

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