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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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Game 38: Manuel removes Blanton for no reason, Phils lose because of it (25-13)

Joe Blanton allowed the first two batters of the game to hit home runs, and he never allowed another run for the rest of the game. Charlie Manuel decided the Phillies bullpen, which is essentially useless before the 8th inning, was good enough to trust in a 2-0 game in the sixth inning.

The Phils were losing, 2-0, in the top of the sixth inning with two outs and nobody on base when Joe Blanton was coming to the plate. When the bases are empty with two outs, the offense has about a 12 percent chance of scoring. If Michael Martinez is the batter, the 12% is too high. However, Manuel decided to trade his starting pitcher, who was lights out since the first inning, for Martinez. The pinch-hitter actually doubled and scored a run to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Phils still needed to get 12 outs after that inning. Manuel compounded the mistake by using JC Romero to pitch to a right-handed hitter in the 6th inning. The hitter walked, and Romero left the game after allowing two of the three batters he faced to reach base. At least Manuel knew enough to take him out of the game. Who did he choose as a replacement in this extremely high-leverage situation, only down by a run? Kyle Kendrick! Ryan Madson is the obvious pitcher to use in that spot (2 on and only 1 out), but god forbid you use your closer that isn't the number 9. RYAN MADSON WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER BATTER OUT AND THE EARTH WILL IMMEDIATELY FOLD INTO ITSELF.

Kendrick not only failed to strand the two runners, but he allowed another run to score as well. 5-1 score at the end of the inning. Game over; 5-3 final.

It was wrong to remove Blanton at that point: the bullpen is awful, and Manuel has no idea how to optimize it anyway. It was clearly wrong to use Romero; just look at his numbers against righties. And, of course, it was embarrassing to use Kendrick in the biggest spot of the game while Madson sat on the bench eating sunflower seeds.

This is the exact type of game where Manuel deserves to be SKEWERED by the media. The worst that will happen, however, is probably the use of the word "questionable" when they talk about Blanton's removal. And, obviously, they'll ignore the reliever selection altogether.

This team is really good. The manager is not.

The Phils try to win the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm when Roy Halladay faces RHP Tim Hudson.


Aaron J Warren said...

If you recall, Jimmy Rollins ran us out of that inning, getting himself caught in a run down. Also, the Braves pitcher, Jair Jurrjens, was pitching a no-hitter until Martinez pinch hit his double, and was clearly shaken after giving up the hit. Could have been a big inning if Rollins would have run the bases properly. Not to mention Blanton didn't look that great, having given up looooooong homeruns to Prado and Nate McClouth and typically has one bad inning per outing.

Looked to me like Charlie was playing a hunch (which worked by the by).

Andy Musser said...

So if he typically only has one bad inning per outing, then wouldn't you want him pitching the rest of the game after the first inning? After the first inning he was lights out, and the bullpen blew the game.