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, July 6, 2011

Game 88: Phillies use Baez, Carpenter, Herndon, Kendrick, but not Bastardo (55-33)

Yet again, the Phils lost an extra-inning game on the road because Charlie Manuel was saving his best reliever for a save opportunity that didn't exist.

Here are some reasons for the Phils' loss: Manuel's bullpen usage, Kerwin Danley's brain, and Manuel's lineup. Let's start with the lineup.

Michael Martinez batted second tonight while John Mayberry batted 8th. That's insane. If those players were simply switched in the order, Mayberry's two home runs may have led to more than only 3 runs.

Now to the umpiring: If Kerwin Danely didn't inexplicably call Domonic Brown out for missing second base (which he clearly didnt), and Mayberry's home run still followed, the Phillies probably win the game.

Now to the bullpen's usage in extra innings, which is a recurring theme of the 2011 season: Manuel never uses his closer in a tie game on the road, which makes absolutely no sense. The reasoning is that "if you get the lead, who will close the game?", as if it's more difficult to pitch with a 1- or 2-run lead than a 0-run lead. Apparently Manuel trusts Danys Baez (who pitched the 9th and 10th innings before inevitably blowing the game-- he has all 3 losses in the road walk-off games they've dropped) more with a 0-run lead than he does Antonio Bastardo. It's ridiculous.

The whole notion that "you don't use your closer in a tie game on the road" is disproved with one sentence: If you can trust a reliever with a 0-run lead, you sure as hell trust him with a 1-run lead. The fact that Baez is continually allowed to pitch in tie games, on the road, in extra innings means he's capable of pitching with a 1- or 2-run lead.

In these three walk-off losses this year (St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and now Florida), Manuel has made the same mistake in each game. Madson never pitched in the first two games, and Bastardo didn't pitch tonight. If he had used his pen correctly in all of these games, they probably would have won at least one, possibly two, and who knows, maybe even all three.

If the Phils end up as the wild-card (not a ridiculous possibility), these games should be remembered.

Oh, and Stutes was mismanaged tonight as well. He was used in the bottom of the 8th inning with zero men on and zero men out, against the 7-8-9 hitters. That's about as low-leverage as you can get in a tie game. Meanwhile, Andrew Carpenter was entrusted with a 1-run lead in the 7th inning against the heart of the Marlins order. He retired only one of the first 3 batters he faced, and the Phils were clinging to a 1-run lead with men on the corners and one out. Hanley Ramirez was the batter. This is the type of high-leverage situation that's absolutely screaming for Stutes. Instead, Carpenter pitched in the most important situation of the game, surrendering the lead on a hit to Ramirez. Stutes was saved for a situation with no one on and no one out. Just a terrible night for Charlie Manuel, who will get zero criticism from the media tomorrow.

The Phils are off tomorrow, but they head back to CBP to face Atlanta on Friday when Roy Halladay faces RHP Brandon Beachy at 7:05pm.


Gibbs said...

I've been following this blog for a while, and honestly, I thought you were a little over-the-top with your criticism of Manuel's bullpen management. Until tonight. I'm still willing to give the man a little grace as we're missing two starters and our first three closers, but I don't know why Baez has a job, much less why Manuel pitches him when the game is on the line.

hk said...

I agree with almost all of what you have to say with the exception of the part about Danley's call costing the Phils an extra run. The fact of the matter is that if Dom had been given credit with the triple, the whole game would have played out differently and Mayberry most likely would not have hit a HR. In fact, it's possible (and maybe likely) that the Marlins would have pitched around or even intentionally walked Mayberry.

Andy Musser said...

You're probably correct about that, hk. If chaos theory is indeed applicable to MLB, however, if Danley makes a different call and David Herndon takes the mound a couple minutes later into the evening, perhaps the Marlins don't make any sort of comeback.

hk said...

Also true. Danley missed the call and the Phillies lost. If Danley had gotten the call right, it is definitely possible that the Phillies would have won. Of course, the Phils also benefitted from some seemingly wrong calls in the series. My larger point is that, if the manager had any clue on how to construct a line-up and/or manage a bullpen, the umpire's error would most likely have been irrelevant. Further to that point, what the hell does Pete Mackinin do? I think the Phils really miss Jimy Williams.

Henry Rowengartner said...

Not only did Charlie not get criticized in the media today, one writer explicitly defended him and placed the blame on the "personnel" as if the skill level of the "personnel" cannot be maximized by a competent manager.

And hk is 100% right, the difference in the quality of managing pre- and post-Jimy Williams is stark. It's no wonder he wanted to get paid like an actual manager - he was one.

Andy Musser said...

That would be David Murphy of the Daily News, a classic Manuel apologist. Today, his defense of Manuel only focused on Kendrick's exit, completely ignoring how Manuel misused Stutes and shunned Bastardo altogether.