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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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Game 56: Manuel refuses to use a take sign (34-22)

The Phillies only managed one run today, ruining a great day for Phils pitching. The final was 2-1, and, really, the Phils were lucky they weren't swept by Washington.

Manuel only made one mistake today, but it was a huge one. With two outs and two on in the top of the 6th inning, Jimmy Rollins pinch-hit for Wilson Valdez. Reliever Todd Coffey had just come into for the previous batter. Coffey threw 5 pitches to Rollins, four of which were balls. The bases were now loaded, and Charlie Manuel correctly used Domonic Brown as a pinch-hitter for Roy Oswalt. Coffey threw a first-pitch ball to Brown, making it 5 out of 6 pitches from Coffey out of the strike zone.

Since Coffey is clearly struggling to find the plate, and a walk ties the game, it should be a no-brainer to give a rookie a take sign in this situation. After all, when you put the ball in play, you're going to be out over 70% of the time. Since Manuel has shown a consistent lack of understanding of plate discipline over the past 6 years, it is no surprise what happened next.

Brown swung, and he left the bases loaded. The Phils never had another scoring chance.

Yes, Brown hit the ball hard and it was unlucky the left fielder made a great catch. However, that's exactly why you don't swing in that spot. Even if you accomplish your goal, the other team can still get out of the inning. If you take a pitch, it is likely the count will run to 2-0, possible you score on a wild pitch, and virtually impossible to make the third out of the inning. Swinging there decreases your chances of winning. Even if Coffey throws a strike, it is a 1-1 count: hardly overwhelming from a hitter's standpoint.

Part of the reason this team has struggled to score runs is its plate discipline, and the manager is a big part of that problem.

The Phils finally have an off-day tomorrow before heading to Pittsburgh on Friday. Cole Hamels faces RHP Jeff Karstens at 7:05 pm.

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