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 23, 2010

Game 153: Oswalt puts the nail in the coffin, Cox drives it in (92-61)

The Phils swept the Atlanta Braves tonight by a score of 1-0 thanks to a masterpiece from Roy Oswalt and a clutch 8th inning from Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. Oswalt pitched 7 innings while allowing only one hit. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge each pitched a hitless inning to complete the victory.

However, in the bottom of the eighth inning in virtually the same exact situation as last night, Bobby Cox mismanaged his bullpen and it cost him yet another game. Lefty Jonny Venters came into pitch the 8th inning against Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Good move. After those two batters, he had nobody on base and two outs. Venters was the first lefty used by Cox, and the Braves have a total of FOUR lefties in the pen. All of these lefties have a career OPS-allowed vs. LHB less than .600. That means Cox has four dependable pitchers to face lefties late in the game.

So, even though Cox had to keep extra innings in mind, with 3 more lefties available after Venters, there was NO reason to keep him in the game to face Jayson Werth. Raul Ibanez was on deck, but with an expanded 40-man roster, Cox should have used a righty for Werth and another lefty for Ibanez. Instead, the lefty had to face Werth (career .938 OPS vs. lefties). Werth unsurprisingly walked. Then, Ibanez, who has a much smaller dropoff against LHP than Werth does against RHP (see below), capitalized and came through with a double. For the second straight game, the eventual winning run was a result of a lefty facing Werth unnecessarily. As Mr. Graham has been stating for years, there is no better matchup in the Phils lineup than Jayson Werth vs. LHP, including Ryan Howard and/or Chase Utley vs. RHP.

So, congratulations Charlie Manuel, you outmanaged Bobby Cox in the biggest series of the year. You didn't do much, but as this site has long illustrated, not making mistakes is really the best a manager can do. Cox failed.

The Phils have a 6-game lead with 9 games to play. They must clinch before they start resting everyone, but Manuel should shut down Brad Lidge on Friday (he's pitched thrice in a row). Friday night in Philly, the Phils try to make it eleven wins in a row as Big Joe Blanton faces RHP R.A. Dickey at 7:05 pm.

1 comment:

Henry Rowengartner said...

"The Phillies caught a break -- they got a ball just inside the line down in left field, and it was the ball game."

Looks like Cox subscribes to the Tom McCarthy definition of "break." If it didn't mean the Phils facing the Giants in the first round I'd love to see him miss the playoffs in his farewell tour.