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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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Game 25: Phils shut down by lefty; Figueroa blows it in 7th (14-11)

Last night the Phils lost a 6-3 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals. The game was 1-1 heading into the top of the 7th inning, but Joe Blanton allowed a leadoff home run to Nick Stavinoha. Blanton then got two of the next three batters out, but after an Albert Pujols single to put runners at the corners with two down, Charlie Manuel went to RHP Nelson Figueroa to pitch to Matt Holliday.

I do not think Figueroa is the proper choice at this point in the game. Figueroa is a journeyman starter with a career 1.46 WHIP, but Danys Baez is an experienced late-inning reliever with a 1.32 WHIP. Both are right-handed. I realize that the bullpen is shorthanded, but this was a crucial point in the game. It was imperative to keep the game at one-run: so why is a dude who didn't even make the opening day roster on the mound against the Cards' 4-hitter? Figueroa promptly threw a wild pitch, which forced an intentional walk to Holliday. He then allowed a double and a single, and the game was over. The two runs the Phils scored after this half-inning were rendered useless. Who knows what would have happened if Baez were used in the high-leverage situation?

It is too early to tell, but I think Manuel has Figueroa in a late-inning role while using Baez in mop-up spots. They must be reversed.

Game two is another tough matchup for the Phils. Tonight at 7:05 pm the Phils try to even the series when LHP Cole Hamels faces RHP Adam Wainwright.

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