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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Friday, June 10, 2011

Game 63: Phils lose in 11 innings, actually not Manuel's fault (37-26)

It figures that the one time Charlie Manuel gets mainstream (read: not us) criticism following a loss, it actually wasn't his fault. The Phils lost last night in 11 innings due to bad defense in the 10th inning, poor offense after the 2nd inning, and a rain delay (in reverse order of importance).

The Phils were winning 3-0 in the 3rd inning when the rain delay hit, which forced the Phillies to remove Kyle Kendrick. The delay was only 1 hour and 17 minutes (below average, I believe), so I was hoping Manuel would force Kendrick to go back on the mound. However, Manuel, like most managers (and the other manager in the game), removed the starter after the rain delay. I won't blame him for this, but if Kendrick had stayed in the game with normal effectiveness (obviously a big assumption), they probably would have won the game.

Manuel used Baez, Contreras, Romero, Bastardo, and Stutes between the 3rd and 8th innings. This left only Madson and Herndon available when the Phils took a 3-2 lead in the 9th. Some people are saying today that Manuel burned through the bullpen too quickly, but he was forced to the bullpen in the 3rd inning of the game (and, just as importantly, he was protecting a lead the entire game). He successfully got a one-run lead to Madson without any offensive help. Madson blew the save. Bad luck for Manuel.

Another criticism for Manuel came in the bottom of the 10th inning when David Herndon was forced to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. I've heard people suggest that WIlson Valdez should have pinch-hit and then stayed in the game to pitch. It's a nice idea, I guess, but Valdez is a terrible hitter. The Phils are most likely not going to score with Valdez at the plate, and the difference between Valdez as a pitcher and Herndon as a pitcher is too great to make up with one at-bat.

The only possible thing Manuel could have tried was a steal of home with Shane Victorino. There was a lefthanded pitcher on the mound, and Victorino has the speed to at least force a close play at the plate. Victorino probably should have broken for the plate at some point in Herndon's at bat.

Manuel does deserve some criticism for the bottom of the 11th inning when the first three Phillies batters swung at the first pitch against Carlos Marmol, who is notorious for his wildness. Most of the saves that he blows are due to walks, yet the Phillies were approaching the at-bats like Cliff Lee was on the mound -- Marmol's polar opposite.

Plate discipline. What' s that?

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