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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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Game 125: Madson unavailable, Phils lose (81-44)

This is why you don't automatically use your closer with a 3-run lead. Ryan Madson pitched in the Thursday night game against Arizona when the score was 4-1, which was his second appearance in two days.

It is counterproductive to use Madson there because it can lead to his being unavailable in the future, which is exactly what happened. Madson actually had a real save opportunity on Friday night, which he blew. Is there really a huge difference between a 2-run lead and a 3-run lead in the ninth inning? Yes.

According to the win expectancy finder, a home team trailing by 2 runs at the start of the bottom of the ninth has a 7.8% chance of winning the game (this was Friday night's scenario). If it were a three-run lead, the number is 3.4%. The extra run saved for the trailing team doubles their chances of winning.

Thursday night against Arizona is much different. A visiting team trailing by 3 at the start of the 9th inning has a 2.1% chance of winning. Madson should not have been used in this situation, especially since he pitched the night before.

He was forced to appear Friday night, and three straight relief appearances is pretty much an automatic guarantee that you're unavailable the next night. Since he threw 40 pitches on Friday in addition to his previous workload, he was unavailable both Saturday and Sunday.

Madson probably would have closed the game successfully Sunday, whereas Bastardo failed. Even if it did go to extra innings, they would have had an extra arm in the bullpen to delay Lidge's appearance.

Also, I would have used Antonio Bastardo for two innings today. He looked sharp, sans HR, in the 9th inning. He only threw 15 pitches and was not pinch-hit for in the top of the tenth. With Madson unavailable, Bastardo should have pitched the 10th inning as well.

Another mistake: Stutes should have been used before Lidge in the 10th inning. Stutes is much more effective than Lidge right now, and since the game was tied against the heart of the order, you have to go to your best available reliever.

The options for the tenth inning were 1) Bastardo, 2) Stutes, 3) Lidge. Of course, the worst option was chosen, and now the Braves are 6.5 games back.

If Madson weren't used Thursday in the 4-1 game, he likely would have been sharper on Friday, and the Phils probably would have won that game. If Madson weren't used Thursday night and didn't throw 40 pitches on Friday, he definitely would have been available today.

The decision on Thursday night from Manuel possibly cost the Phillies two victories in the standings. And what will be the mainstream story tomorrow? Brad Lidge!

Tomorrow the Phils start a series against the Mets at CBP when Cliff Lee faces RHP Dillon Gee at 7:05 pm.


Robby Bonfire said...

The lost weekend, seems like it was the worst weekend of the year for this team.

I am backtracking some stats, so this offering is incomplete, but it appears that, yes, Stutes should rank above Lidge, right now. The problem with Lidge is that, over the last 8 appearances I have logged for him, he is allowing the almost impossible rate of 100 baserunners for every 43 baserunners opposition relief pitchers are allowing Phillies batters in the games Lidge has worked, adjusted for innings worked. There is more, except that that stat is so ugly, why go on with the numbers,except to say that Stutes has a 105-100 advantage in baserunners allowed, adjusted for the difference in innings pitched, vs. opposition relief pitchers, over the same time span.

Charlie Manuel would be over-matched in an insane asylum.

Andy Musser said...

Lidge has no velocity on his fastball, and his walk-rate right now is through the roof.

Robby Bonfire said...

Please tell that to Charlie, Andy, because I honestly don't think he knows that. I would call him if I had his number, but then, it's hard to come to the phone when you are grabbing 25,000 winks.

hk said...

Charlie's decision to use Lidge before Stutes was another in the long line of Torre's - the name that I have given to a decision in which a team loses a game on the road in extra innings with a lesser pitcher while saving the better pitcher for a save opportunity that never came - that Charlie has committed this season alone. One would have thought that, when Joe Torre famously mismanaged his bullpen in the 2003 World Series and lost Game 4 with Jeff (not Jered) Weaver on the hill and Mariano Rivera waiting in the pen, this bit of mismanaging strategy would have gone by the wayside. However, Charlie is not alone in committing this criminal (by managing standards) act as both Fredi Gonzalez and Clint Hurdle have misled their teams to losses at CBP in the last few months in the same fashion.

hk said...

Further to my last is amazing to see this team's record at 81-44 and think about how much better it could be (88-37?) if Jimy Williams was still the bench coach. Heck, they'd probably be 85-40 with a well trained monkey or that octopus that picked World Cup games at the helm.

Scott Graham said...

Amen, HK. As Mr. Musser has explained many times on this site, it's really mind-blowing the logic that Manuel is following. If the game is tied on the road in extras, your reliever can give up exactly 0 runs for the team to be able to win. If you're up at least one run, the reliever can allow 0 or 1 runs for the team to be able to win. You're trusting a lesser reliever in a less forgiving scenario. I know you don't need this explained for you, but how have MLB managers not realized this?

I mean it should conceivably come from the front office as well. The team would be thrilled to use the closer in a non-save situation so as to not provide him more leverage on a new contract/bonuses on an existing contract.

Andy Musser said...

That octopus is dead, actually, so maybe 83-42 with him.

hk said...

I'd take a dead octupus in the manager's seat right about now.

Robby Bonfire said...

Not to excuse Joe Torre, even to this day Mariano Rivera is lightyear's more effective in save situations than he is relieving in tie games, home and road. My guess is this is what prompted Torre's decision as regards using Jeff Weaver with that season on the line. Still, I think we would all rather go down, if we must, with Mariano.

hk said...


In save situations during his career, Mariano Rivera's ERA is 1.92 and his opponents OBP is .250. In non-save situations, the numbers, 2.36 ERA and .269 OBP against, are slightly worse. However, Jeff Weaver's career ERA is 4.71 and that's where Torre's fallacy of thinking comes into play. In any tie game on the road and particularly in Game 4 of the World Series, the comparison should not be of Mo in save situations vs. Mo in non-save situations, it should be of Mo in non-save situations vs. Jeff Weaver.

I have this vision in my head of Allen Iverson holding a press conference to critique that move and all he says, this is Jeff Weaver we're taking about, Jeff Weaver, not Jered, not Jered...Jeff Weaver, not Jered...