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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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Game 89: Braves refuse to use their best reliever, Braves lose (56-33)

You'll notice that we never accuse Manuel of being a below-average manager, for a couple reasons. Primarily, it's impossible to have the time to properly judge all 30 MLB managers. Secondly, the Phillies occasionally run into a manager who makes the same mistakes as Manuel (or even worse*). Fredi Gonzalez used Scott Linebrink and Scott Proctor in tonight's game with the 2-2 score after using 3 of his top 4 relievers (O'Flaherty, Venters, Sherrill). The other reliever was Craig Kimbrel, who owns a terrifying K/9 rate of 15.1 for his career. Gonzalez apparently thought it would help the Braves' chances of winning if Proctor pitched to Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, and Carlos Ruiz in the bottom of the 10th inning instead of Kimbrel.

Proctor never got to face Ruiz, and Kimbrel was never used in the game. Ibanez crushed a 2-0 pitch into the seats to end it.

Well done, Fredi! At least Manuel isn't alone. For the 1000th time, saving your closer on the road for a save situation that may never come is a terrible idea. Not surprisingly, Chris Wheeler agrees with the "don't use your closer in a tie game on the road" strategy.

I thought Manuel had a good game tonight. Halladay's pitch count -- and the rain delay --made it implausible to keep him in past the 7th inning. Once Manuel burned through Stutes and Bastardo in the 8th and 9th innings (Bastardo pitched in a tie game and the world didn't end!), he had to choose between Mathieson, Carpenter, Herndon, Baez, and Juan Perez to pitch the 10th inning. With two lefties due up for Atlanta, Perez struck out the side to earn the victory.

When you consider that Manuel batted Mayberry 2nd rather than Michael Martinez or Wilson Valdez, there's really nothing to complain about in terms of the manager today.

Manuel 1, Gonzalez 0.

Tomorrow the Phils go for the series victory at 4:10 pm when Cliff Lee faces RHP Tommy Hanson.

*see: La Russa, Tony; Torre, Joe

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