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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95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Friday, October 22, 2010

Game 5: There is life (2-3)

Roy Halladay pitched 6 innings in tonight's 4-2 victory, allowing only two earned runs despite a groin injury he suffered in the first inning. The bullpen was tremendous. Between Jose Contreras, JC Romero, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge for the 7-8-9 innings, only one batter reached base. Charlie Manuel stuck with Halladay as long as he could; it would have been nice to eliminate Contreras/Romero from the mix, but Halladay was injured with 108 pitches when his spot came up in the order with a man on third and one out in the 7th inning. Ross Gload was the correct choice to bat and he demolished a pitch from Tim Lincecum. Unluckily, it ended up as a line drive double-play to end the inning.

Contreras was the right choice to start the 7th inning (ideally, Madson would have pitched two innings, but he threw a ton of pitches last night), and he retired 2 of the 3 batters he faced. Aubrey Huff was the 4th batter, and Manuel correctly used Romero to retire Huff on a weak line drive. After that, Madson and Lidge shut the door. If Manuel managed his bullpen as well last night as he did tonight, we could easily be talking about a clinch possibility for the Phils on Saturday.

Now, to the negatives:

Lincecum threw 9 pitches to the first two batters of the first inning. Shane Victorino swung at a 2-1 pitch well out of the strike zone to make the first out, and Placido Polanco swung at ball 4 on a 3-1 pitch to make the second out (the only reason why it was a 3-1 count was because he swung at another ball earlier in the AB). Just an awful plate approach. Lincecum is a deadly pitcher whose Achillies heel is the base-on-balls -- if not for an error by Aubrey Huff, the bad approach, which starts with the manager, could have ended the Phils' season.

Why did Manuel revert back to Utley-Howard in the lineup? Javier Lopez came into the game and was able to retire both lefties without facing a RHB. Just an awful decision by Manuel to put them both back to back. There is no benefit when they hit back to back, and Manuel acknowledged the value of placing a righty between them before game 3. Manuel will get credit from the mainstream media for his performance in tonight's game, when in actuality, he helped the Giants retire Utley and Howard in the 8th inning in a 1-run game.

Roy Oswalt faces Jonathan Sanchez on Saturday, either at 4 or 8 depending on the ALCS. The good thing about facing Sanchez is that Manuel will likely put Utley back in the 2-hole. Mr. Graham noted after game 2 how the Phils' approach to Sanchez changed drastically after the first inning. This MUST not happen in game 6. Patience and discipline will win the game against Sanchez.

It will be a long 48 hours.


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