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, August 26, 2011

Game 129: Let's use Cliff Lee to pinch-run down by 2 (83-46)

Charlie Manuel managed a pretty good game tonight until the 9th inning. He used a double-switch when he removed Roy Oswalt in the sixth inning. This ensured that David Herndon (who's one of the Phillies best relievers, actually) could pitch more than 1 inning. Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson pitched scoreless 8th and 9th innings.

One mistake I will point out is that Manuel probably left Oswalt in the game too long.

After Roy Oswalt made his 96th pitch in the sixth inning, the Marlins had the bases loaded and nobody out. With the Phils trailing 2-1 in the game, this is a situation begging for your best reliever -- Ryan Madson. Madson should be used much more often in high-leverage situations in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings rather than games in the 9th inning with leads or deficits of more than one run. However, this would require a manager who optimizes his team.

Oswalt was allowed to throw 100+ pitches on a night where he wasn't sharp, and the Phils' bullpen was brought into the game too late.

I won't completely lambaste Manuel because of the Phillies virtual certainty to make the playoffs, but eventually, he is going to have to start managing games like Bochy did in game 6 of the NLCS.

However, the worst move of the night was how he treated another starting pitcher, Cliff Lee.

The Phils were trailing 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, and PH Raul Ibanez singled with one out. Incredibly, Manuel immediately used Cliff Lee to pinch run for Ibanez. This is a manager who waited to pinch-run for the tying run in the 9th inning against Arizona until the runner (Ruiz) was sacrificed to second. Tonight, he pinch-ran for a virtually meaningless run with one of the best pitchers in the game. Lee is a 130-million dollar asset, and he's being used as a pinch-runner on a team with 100% odds of making the playoffs in a game in August, to score the 5th run of the game when the other team already has six!

The more I think about it, this might be the worst decision he's ever made. Of course, Lee ended up having to run the full 270 feet, scoring on a double from Michael Martinez.

If Lee pulled a hamstring rounding third base, the mainstream media would have KILLED Manuel for this decision. Because Manuel gets lucky, however, no one will mention it. I'm not sure which part is more infuriating: the absurd decision to risk Lee to score a meaningless run, or the probable lack of reaction.

Tomorrow the Phillies will look to avoid the two-game sweep when Roy Halladay faces RHP Anibal Sanchez at 1:05 pm.

5 comments:

hk said...

I'm not even so sure the MSM would have killed Charlie for pinch-running with Lee even if he had hurt himself. Charlie seems to be above criticism from almost all of the MSM.

Scott Fisher said...

I totally agree with the post on this blog. I was at the game last night and was incredulous when Lee was brought into pinch run! I don't see any reference to it today in the sports section of the Inquirer!

hk said...

I know I keep harping on the fact that Charlie's decision making has gotten worse since Jimy Williams left the bench, but why the heck are they paying Pete Mackinin if he can't at least stop Charlie from making the dumbest of decisions? Someone on that bench has to be able to at least assess downside vs. upside risk.

Potential upside: Cliff scores a meaningless run that Raul otherwise wouldn't have scored.

Potential downside: Unthinkable!

Scott Graham said...

Just terrible.

hk said...

Terrible is a gross understatement. Terrible involves decisions that play a role in the team losing a game. This could have potentially cost them a chance at the World Series.