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, May 20, 2010

Game 40: Phils barely pick up much-needed win (25-15)

Joe Blanton pitched an excellent game today, throwing 7 innings while allowing 3 runs in the Phils' 5-4 victory over Chicago. One of those runs was due to Ryan Howard's losing a pop-up in the sun, and another was due to a missed call by the first-base umpire. The only legitimate run he allowed was a homer to Derrek Lee to lead off the 7th inning.

Home runs by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins (who was properly placed in the 5-hole today) allowed the Phils to cruise to a 4-1 lead heading into the seventh, but the Cubs tacked on two runs to cut the lead to 4-3. In the top of the 8th inning with Blanton out of the game, Charlie Manuel decided to use LHP Antonio Bastardo to pitch to LHB Kosuke Fukudome with two right-handed hitters (Ryan Theriot and Lee) to follow. It was obvious that Fukudome would be Bastardo's only batter. With only 6 outs remaining and Jose Contreras pegged as the closer, why on Earth is Bastardo getting the nod over J.C. Romero? Romero is clearly the bullpen's best lefty, and as we've seen over the past 2+ years, he should only pitch to lefties. For whatever reason, Manuel decided to go with his weakest left-handed option against the Cubs' strongest left-handed hitter. Fukudome took advantage and launched one into section 106. Tie game.

Thankfully for Manuel, he won't face any tough questions about this decision due to the Phils' victory (actually, it's been proven over the years that he wouldn't face any tough questions regardless of the outcome). That's twice Manuel has mis-managed his bullpen in less than 20 hours.

The Phils managed to split the 4-game set against Pittsburgh/Chicago, and they head into a 3-game set at home against Boston tomorrow night as LHP Cole Hamels faces RHP John Lackey at 7:05 pm.

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