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.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The score was 12-1 heading into the ninth inning, so I'm not going to get into any of Manuel's decisions last night. He did pretty much all he could do once Oswalt left after 3 innings.
However, I will berate someone: the official scorekeeper in St. Louis.
If you remember Chase Utley's hitting streak in 2006, you likely remember the night in St. Louis when he carried a 30+ game hitting streak and zero hits into the top of the 9th inning. With a runner on third, Utley hit a swinging bunt between the third baseline and the mound. The pitcher, who I think was lefthanded, picked up the ball and feigned a throw towards third base. He then turned and threw to first base, where Utley barely beat the throw. Safe, base hit! However, the jackass scorer initially called the play a fielder's choice, presumably due to the pitcher's motion towards third base.
In section 10 of the MLB rulebook, they describe that exact type of situation, and the rule is that the play results in a hit for the batter. It can only be a fielder's choice if a throw is made, not simply faked. A couple minutes later, after Phillies' personnel informed the scorer of the rule, the FC was changed to a hit. It was a ridiculous sequence of events just because the official scorer didn't know the rules.
Fast forward to last night: In the second inning, Ben Francisco hit a line drive to centerfield which was misjudged by Colby Rasmus. Rasmus dived for the ball, missed it, and the ball rolled past him to the fence. Francisco got to third base on the play. I was watching the game with no sound, and I just assumed it was scored as a triple. Because, you know, that play is the definition of a triple. Wrong, though: it was ruled as a single and a two-base error on Rasmus. Ridiculous.
The rulebook specifically states (in the section entitled OFFICIAL SCORER) that mental mistakes (like, diving for a ball that you have no chance of getting, and allowing that ball to go the fence) and misjudgments (like, "hey, I think I can dive and catch this ball!) are not errors.
Any child who watches baseball understands that rule. Even Gary Matthews understands this rule -- he was criticizing the scorer's decision as well. It doesn't matter, but obviously the official scorer has Chris Carpenter on his fantasy team, or he just doesn't know the rules. I'm guessing both.
St. Louis, home of the best fans in baseball, can't find a single citizen who understands section 10 of the MLB rulebook.