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, August 31, 2011

Game 132: Lee dominates, Manuel screws up badly (86-46)

Charlie Manuel probably allowed Cliff Lee to throw too many pitches tonight, en route to a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati.

Lee had 100 pitches after 8 scoreless innings, which is plenty of pitches for your 120-million dollar man when you have a 16-game playoff lead in August. Yes, it's nice to let Lee chase a complete game shutout, but who cares? If he had a no-hitter going, I'd understand Manuel's risk. However, Manuel's allowing Lee to take the mound in the 9th with 100 pitches under his belt implies that he's okay with Lee throwing 120-130 pitches in the game. I'd highly doubt that Manuel would remove Lee after a hypothetical 10-pitch strikeout to the leadoff batter.

There is no potential reward for allowing Lee to throw 110+ pitches at this point in the season, but the potential risk is devastating.

In this week alone, Manuel has allowed Lee to pinch-run for the only baserunner while trailing by two in the 9th inning and take the mound in the 9th inning with 100 pitches-thrown, a 16-game playoff lead, and a 97% chance of winning the game. With four years and roughly 6 trillion dollars remaining on Lee's contract, it's blatantly irresponsible.

-- I wrote the above paragraphs before two runners reached base in the 9th inning. Once I saw that Manuel was allowing Lee to pitch to Miguel Cairo with 2 outs in the ninth, I started writing the below paragraphs --

Even ignoring the aspects of the pitch-count and the 16-game playoff lead, if this were an absolute must-win game (which is clearly how Manuel treated it), he should have removed Lee from the game after the second baserunner reached in the ninth inning. The tying run came to the plate in the form of Miguel Cairo, who has a .661 OPS against RHPs and .736 against LHPs. Of course, Manuel allowed Lee to face Cairo, and once Cairo reached first to load the bases, then Manuel removed Lee for Madson. Instead of bringing Madson into the game to significantly decrease Cairo's effectiveness, he decided to increase the chances of Cairo's reaching base (which he did), while forcing Madson into a much more difficult situation than necessary (the Reds' win expectancy nearly tripled after Cairo's plate appearance, going from 3.8% to 9.5% after the HBP).

Manuel managed the 9th inning as badly as humanly possible.

Tomorrow the Phils go for the sweep when Vance Worley faces RHP Mike Leake at 12:35 pm.


cheesefondue said...

Does it bother anyone else how often a Phillie is thrown out at home plate running from 2nd base, like Brian Schneider today, who isn't very fast anyway? I've seen it happen an uncomfortable number of times in the last 2 months.

Richard said...

"Manuel managed the 9th inning as badly as humanly possible."

Haha! Very funny. You guys are hilarious.