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.

Blog Archive

95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Game 101: Lee allows 10 hits, Phils' comeback falls short (64-37)

The Phils dropped the final game of their four-game set to San Diego yesterday, 5-4. Cliff Lee was removed in the bottom of the 4th inning for a pinch-hitter after throwing 82 pitches.

Since Drew Carpenter was Lee's replacement on the mound, it was may have been a little too early to remove Lee (who had only walked one batter). However, with the Phils behind in the game and Lee's high-number of IPs this year, I can't really blame Manuel here. He was attempting to keep a rally going (the score was 5-3 and the tying run was at the plate), and Lee had allowed 4 doubles on the day anyway. Preserving Lee's arm in the long run while also trying to tie the game against Aaron Harang, before SD's deadly bullpen can come in with the lead, is not a bad strategy at all.

The sacrifice bunt in the 9th, however, was not good. Padres closer Heath Bell walked Domonic Brown to leadoff the 9th inning. Bell has a relatively high walk-rate for his career, walking over 3 batters per 9 innings pitched. So, once Bell succumbs to his main weakness and puts the tying run on base to start the inning, it's incomprehensible to immediately give Bell an out. Carlos Ruiz sacrificed Brown to second base on the first pitch.

A successful sacrifice bunt actually decreases the chance that you'll score at least 1 run in the inning (this is run frequency; it also decreases the overall runs you can expect to score in the inning). Since the batter was Ruiz, who is prone to double play balls, a sac bunt isn't the worst decision in the world. A sac bunt on the first pitch, however, is brutal. Both Ruiz and Bell have high walk rates, and Domonic Brown can steal a base. If a bunt is that important for the Phillies to execute, there's no reason the bunt can't wait until Bell throws a strike.

Eliminating the possibility of another walk there, and handing the Giants an immediate out with the 9-spot in the order on deck, is simply inexcusable. Manuel pulled this stunt earlier in the season in the 19th inning of the Wilson Valdez game, but this time it came back to haunt the Phillies. Ross Gload and Jimmy Rollins made two quiet outs to end the game.

Handing the Padres an out on the first pitch is ridiculous: it eliminates the possibilities of a stolen base, a wild pitch, passed ball, and a walk. But, it still leaves the window open for a double play (or, more likely, a failed sac attempt). And, even if the sacrifice is successful, you still decrease your chances of scoring in the inning.

Bunting is bad; bunting without taking a strike is terrible.

No comments: