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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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game 1: Manuel outmanages Hurdle to start the season (1-0)

The Phillies defeated the Pirates today by a score of 1-0, behind 8 innings from Roy Halladay and a save from Jonathan Papelbon. Halladay only threw 92 pitches, yet Manuel removed him after the 8th inning. It is unclear whether Manuel made this move because he is pacing Halladay for an undoubtedly large share of innings or because of pressure to use the 50 million-dollar closer. Hopefully, it's the former, but it's really anybody's guess. It will be amusing in July when Halladay is appearing in 3-5 run games with 110+ pitch counts.

The worst managerial move of the day, by far, came in the top of the 7th inning, and it directly caused the only run of the day. Carlos Ruiz came to the plate with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Freddy Galvis was on deck; he had grounded into two double plays already before the 6th inning. With Galvis batting ahead of Halladay, who was simply demolishing the Pittsburgh lineup, it is incomprehensible that Clint Hurdle did not issue an intentional walk to Ruiz. Galvis is by far the worst hitter in the lineup, and Ruiz led the team in OBP last year. Ruiz managed a sacrifice fly to score Ty Wigginton from third base, and that was all Halladay needed to secure the victory. Oh, and Galvis promptly hit a two-hopper to shortstop for the final out of the inning. 

Manuel made no such mistake, mostly because Halladay never gave him an opportunity. 

By the way, the Phillies don't score that run if Galvis is hitting 7th and Ruiz 8th. We've only been saying for 4 years now that Ruiz is too good a hitter to be left in the 8th slot (his numbers in the 6- and 7-lineup slots are significantly better than when hitting 8th). Personally, I think he should be batting first, but, since last year's lineup debacles included Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez consistently batting ahead of Ruiz, anytime that Ruiz isn't hitting 8th, it's a step in the right direction. 

Yes, the only reason Manuel hit Ruiz 7th is because Chase Utley's knees are slowly withering away, but that's all it takes in this league to outmanage someone else in a game. 

The Phillies are off tomorrow before going for the series win Saturday, when Cliff Lee takes on RHP Jeff Karstens at 7:05 pm. 

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