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, October 2, 2009

Game 159: Manuel bats Bruntlett 4 spots ahead of Werth in loss (92-67)

The Phillies are now only 1 game ahead of St. Louis after last night's 5-3 loss to the Astros. Manuel decided to give Shane Victorino and Chase Utley a night off, which is fine with me. Ben Francisco started in center, while Eric Bruntlett got the start at second base. Manuel chose Francisco as his leadoff man, but he decided that Bruntlett should bat second in the lineup while Jayson Werth should bat sixth. Werth's OBP this year is .370. Bruntlett's is .216. I'm fine with resting some players after clinching the division, but since the Phillies can still open up on the road in the first round, Manuel has no excuse for so obviously hindering his team's chances with an upside-down lineup. Bruntlett should have batted 8th, because the starter on the mound was right-handed. Bruntlett was 0-5 on the night with 3 strikeouts, and he was 0-4 with RISP. Unacceptable managing.

Also, in the 9th inning, the Phillies had two men on base with 2 outs. The score was 5-3. Shane Victorino came off the bench to run for Andy Tracy on first base, which underscores the fact that they did not promote a speedy outfielder from the minor leagues for the 40-man September roster. Miguel Cairo was the batter in the 9-spot after coming in to play shortstop, and he flied out to end the game. Manuel decided to use Cairo instead of Utley. I know Manuel wants to rest Utley's sore foot, but I'm pretty sure Utley can muster the strength for a pinch-hit appearance with the tying run on base and a couple defensive innings if the game were to go into extras. Even if they walk Utley, Francisco was up next; both are much better options than Cairo.

Yes, he has managed the team to three straight division titles, but last night's managing hindered their chances at a second straight World Series.

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