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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Game 49: Manuel burns bench player for no reason, Phils win marathon game (30-19)

The Phils won an 19-inning game tonight thanks to some more bad luck for Roy Halladay, poor offense from the Phils, and bad decisions by the Philadelphia manager. (I wrote that sentence before the game was over assuming they'd lose).

We'll start with the worst decision of the game.

In a 3-3 game in the bottom of the ninth inning and one out, the bases were loaded for Ben Francisco against RHP Nick Masset. Unlike many RHPs, Masset actually has virtually equal numbers against RHBs and LHBs. Also, Francisco is also virtually equal against righties and lefties. As a result, the fact that the matchup was right-on-right is irrelevant. Manuel, however, ignored the thousands of innings of data and instead placed a cold Domonic Brown into the biggest spot of the game. He had an awful at-bat and fouled out. Tom Tango, a man much smarter than me, proved in his book The Book that pinch-hitters must be significantly better than the hitters they replace. It's impossible to believe that Brown is significantly better than Francisco; in fact, they're essentially equal at this point in their careers. Pinch-hitting in that spot not only hurt their chances in that inning, but they burned a valuable bench player they could have used much more efficiently later in the game.

I'd normally blast Manuel for not leaving Utley in the game after his pinch-hit appearance in the ninth, but his health is more important than this game.

Carlos Fisher, a relief pitcher for Cincinnati with a JC Romero-like 5.1 BBs per 9 innings, pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball before allowing a walk. Then he actually walked Howard in the 17th inning! The next batter, Raul Ibanez, swung at the FIRST PITCH well out of the strike zone and got himself out. There were plenty of other batters swinging with 1-0 and 2-0 counts against this guy: something you rarely see opposing teams do against Romero. It's too bad other managers have Romero figured out while Manuel can't figure out other teams' Romeros.

Speaking of Romero, he pitched to 3 batters and walked all 3 of them. The first batter he faced was Votto. That's fine. But once he gets on and the RHB Rolen comes to the plate, its inexcusable to leave him in. Romero shouldn't even be on a major league team at this point in his career, let alone pitching in high-leverage situations against cleanup RHBs. Manuel is clueless when it comes to bullpen optimization. If Brandon Phillips didn't get picked off second base, Manuel and Romero would have lost this game.

Tomorrow the Phils try to win the series when Cliff Lee faces RHP Homer Bailey at 1:05pm.

3 comments:

Scott Graham said...

I'm extremely happy that Phillips got picked off. I don't like him one bit.

hk said...

As I commented on Crashburn Alley, I think what was worse than pinch-hitting Dom for Ben was pinch-hitting Chase (instead of Dom) earlier in the inning right after Valdez's sacrifice bunt opened up first base. Why waste Chase for an automatic IBB of an irrelevant run?

Scott Graham said...

I agree, HK. It's ridiculous. Manuel probably didn't even think of that. Worst case scenario, you double switch Brown in for Francisco, and then pitcher/Utley leads off the 10th.