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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Monday, October 12, 2009

NLDS Game 3: Phillies pull out win in Antarctica (2-1)

The Phillies managed an impressive win last night to take a 1 game lead over the Rockies. Manuel seems to be consistently going with Werth batting third, something I enjoy very much. This move proved to help the Phillies last night. Joe Beimel was brought in to pitch to Ryan Howard to get out of the 5th with Utley on first. Had Ibanez been batting 5th, Beimel would most likely have been left in to pitch to him as well. However, Contreras started the 6th because of Werth, and Ibanez worked a walk and later scored a run. Ibanez had a few very good PAs last night.

I completely agreed with Manuel letting Blanton try and bunt the runners along in the 6th rather than using a pinch hitter. I also agree with bringing in Eyre when Manuel did. At that point, the Rockies had L,L,S,L due up, and Scott Eyre was most definitely the right move. Even when Eyre go into trouble in the 7th, I agreed 100% with using Ryan Madson to face Helton, Tulowitzki, etc. I would have also supported using Bastardo to face the lefty, but the ultimate goal with Helton was to get a strikeout. Ruiz/Madson/the bench (whoever) called a beautiful pitch sequence that I too was demanding from my house. Helton has shown trouble catching up with high, hard fastballs recently, and I couldn't have asked for better execution from Madson. Although Madson allowed a run to score, it seemed almost inevitable at that point, and he was at least able to keep it to a minimum. Job well done.

There were three strategic mistakes made by Manuel last night. The first was not giving Pedro Feliz the take sign for the majority of his PA after consecutive walks to Werth and Ibanez. Feliz flailed away at awful pitches prior to grounding into a 1-2-3 DP. Pedro Feliz needs to understand that walks are valuable in that they avoid making outs. The second, was having Shane Victorino bunt in the 9th inning. I'm not going to argue it heartily, it's just a difference in mentality. If Utley were not the cerebral player that he is, maybe he doesn't run to first after hitting the ball off of his leg, and maybe he gets out in his PA. Third, was using Brad Lidge. With all lefties due up (including 1 switch-hitter), I would have rather seen Bastardo or Brett Myers (Myers has better splits vs. LHB than RHB) pitch in that instance. Lidge did not look all that bad though, and even worked Carlos Gonzalez pretty hard before surrendering the walk. I still am not all that confident in Lidge as the playoffs continue though.

On a night when neither starting pitcher made it past the 4th inning (3rd for Happ), the Phillies bullpen was used wisely for the most part, which helped the team pull out the win. I did not agree with Happ starting the game. While Mr. Musser has pointed out that Lee, Hamels, and Happ rely on different tools to get batters out, I think they are VERY similar pitchers. They are all tall lefties that use an 89-93 MPH fastball with a changeup and a curveball to get batters out. While Happ has been known to "hide the ball well", I'm not sure that the Rockies have not been helped out by being permitted to see the ball come out of the same arm slot for what seems to be the entire series now (Lee will pitch again today, and I assume Hamels will go tomorrow provided they need it). I would have liked to see Blanton start last night's game, or even Pedro, just to shake things up.

Also, based on career numbers, the Rockies lineup is much better vs. LHP than RHP. I know their record this season isn't that good vs. LHP, but the career stats are the more predictive values. Their team OBP/SLG values vs. LHP is .353/.459 whereas their numbers vs RHP are .346/.448.

Crucial hits by Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard.

Cliff Lee looks to make a repeat performance vs Ubaldo Jimenez at 6:07. I have game 5 tickets, but would much rather not have to go. Let's go Phillies.

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