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, July 1, 2011

Game 83: Manuel benches Ibanez against lefty, Phils win (52-31)

With Kyle Kendrick facing Toronto's ace, Ricky Romero, and Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee waiting for their starts in Toronto, today's game was easily the best chance Toronto had to win a game this weekend. They blew it.

It wasn't for a lack of competition though, because Charlie Manuel tried his hardest to blow the game as well.

He started the day off pretty well by allowing Domonic Brown to finally start against a left-handed pitcher (about a month too late, but whatever), and unlike Raul Ibanez, Brown didn't look completely lost against the lefty. He got one hit off Romero and scored a run.

The Phils took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning, and since the bullpen is very thin (other than Stutes and Bastardo, your third-best reliever is David Herndon), Manuel allowed Kyle Kendrick to go back to the mound against the 9-1-2 hitters in the Toronto lineup. the 3-hitter, of course, is Jose Bautista, the MLB leader in homers. Bautista hammered Kendrick for n RBI-double in the first inning, and once KK went out to the mound, I assumed that Manuel would remove Kendrick if Bautista came to the plate in the inning. Wrong!

Kendrick retired two of the first three batters, which meant the best hitter (by far) in Toronto's lineup was coming to the plate as the go-ahead run with the Phillies needing only 7 outs to win the game. Michael Stutes is the obvious choice to pitch to Bautista; since he hasn't pitched since Saturday and since Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are the next two starters, you can be aggressive with Stutes to get four outs in this situation.

Manuel did the opposite, and allowed the worst Phillies' starter to throw his 92nd pitch of the day to the best Toronto hitter. It was clear this was Kendrick's last inning, so there's NO reason whatsoever to leave him in for Bautista. It makes no sense, and Bautista hammered that point home with a 2-run homer.


The Phils came back in the 9th to win it, and Antonio Bastardo pitched a perfect ninth to earn the save.

Edition number 13921326 of the Phillies offense bailing out a terrible mistake by Manuel.

The Phils look to win the series tomorrow afternoon as Roy Halladay faces RHP Carlos Villanueva at 1:07 pm. Listen for the airhorn.


hk said...

I was typing my message following your Game 82 post while you were posting the Game 83 one. I was in my car when Bautista took KK deep. Was Stutes even warming in the pen? I fear that Charlie is currently treating Stutes like he treated Madson last year, namely that he won't use him prior to the 8th, even if the highest leveraged situation is in the 7th.

Andy Musser said...

Sorry for the late response. I was traveling all weekend.

I was at work during the game Friday following on CBS Sports, and according to the game tracker, Stutes was not warming in the pen at all.

You are correct in the analogy to Madson; I thought the same thing when I saw Baez and Lopez were warming up, but not Stutes.

Very frustrating.