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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Game 11: Bumgarner outpitches Blanton (5-6)

The Phils lost to the Giants last night by a score of 4-2 in a game where Charlie Manuel made no blatant in-game mistakes. The loss was due to a combination between Blanton's unlucky BABIP and the Phils' dreadful lineup, while the lack of mistakes from Manuel was because he never really had a chance to make any.

Blanton pitched 5 innings, allowing 4 runs due to poor pitching in the first inning and bad defense/luck in the 5th inning. In other words, it was a typical Blanton start. Kyle Kendrick pitched the 6th and 7th innings after entering the game as part of a Pierre-for-Mayberry double switch (not a bad idea, I guess), and Michael Stutes pitched the 8th. No complaints regarding the bullpen today.

Only complaints for Manuel are the same as always: switch Ruiz and Polanco in the lineup, and use Papelbon when he's needed. Polanco cannot keep batting second for this team -- even when he was a productive hitter, I don't think he belonged in the 2-hole (I never understood the put-the-slow-contact-hitter-behind-the-best-OBP-guy strategy, mainly because of double-play potential). Not only is Polanco now older than Jamie Moyer was 15 years ago, but he's coming off multiple injuries as well. The only reason why we aren't calling for his outright demotion is because he is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game, and even that fact may be up for debate depending on the degree of his injury-recovery.

Polanco in the 7-slot, Galvis in the 8-, and Ruiz at leadoff is clearly better than what they're trotting out now.

As for Papelbon, he didn't pitch in last night's game (he was coming off 40 pitches in the last 2 nights, both with big leads), even though had he appeared in the bottom of the 5th innning after Sandoval's leadoff double and the score only 2-1, perhaps he gets out of the inning unscathed and the Phils find a way to win. It was Blanton's last inning anyway (he was approaching 100 pitches). However, this would have required a manager with a basic grasp of high-leverage situations, instead of a manager who uses Papelbon with 6-run leads (Sunday), 3-run leads (Monday), and 3-run deficits (home opener) while Blanton continues to pitch the highest-leverage innings (the first loss of the season; yesterday).

Tonight the Phils go for the series victory when Cliff Lee faces RHP Matt Cain at 10:15 pm.

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