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, October 19, 2010

NLCS Game 3: Cain beats Hamels (1-2)

Matt Cain dominated the Phillies this afternoon, beating the Phils by a score of 3-0. All the talk for the next 24 hours will be how the Phils bats failed them -- none of the talk will focus on Manuel's insistence that Carlos Ruiz is the worst hitter in the order, or Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino inexplicably swinging at pitches that killed rallies.

In the top of the 4th inning the Phils had men on first and second with only one out. The game was still tied. Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez were the next two hitters, and they were both retired to end the inning. The player with the highest OBP on the team this season (who also has much better numbers when he's not batting 8th), Carlos Ruiz, was left on deck as Ibanez flailed away at Cain. Rally killed.

In the top of the 5th inning with one out and nobody on base, Cole Hamels was at the plate facing a 2-0 count. Great! The pitcher is at the plate and Cain is struggling to get the ball in the strike zone! Since Cain has a 3.3 BB/9IP for his career, I was really looking for a walk to the pitcher in this situation. The score was only 2-0 at this point. What happens? Hamels SWINGS at a pitch clearly out of the strike zone, about even with his shoulders. Groundout to first. Victorino then walked on FOUR PITCHES. But, Manuel decided it would be good for Hamels to swing away with a 2-0 count, and Victorino's walk went to waste. I can goddamn guarantee that he wouldn't be swinging 3-0, but 2-0 was the time to swing for the fences. AWFUL MANAGING.

Finally, with runners on first and second in the 7th inning and two outs, Victorino swung at a 3-1 pitch, also at his shoulders but off the plate as well. It was 3-0 and he was the tying run. If he simply takes the pitch, it's bases loaded for Utley, and you're a cheap hit away from a 3-2 game, and a real hit away from the lead. Manuel decided that Matt Cain on his 118th pitch wasn't wild enough to warrant a patient approach, and it backfired. Victorino grounded out and the game was essentially over.

All three of these instances probably did not cost them the game itself, but they sure as hell didn't help.

Now Joe Blanton has to save the season.

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