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.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Hamels allowed a leadoff double to start the bottom of the 1st inning, and the next batter popped out foul behind home plate. The runner from second was running on the pitch, and he touched third base and rounded towards home as the ball was still in the air. When the runner realized the ball had been put in play, he immediately ran directly towards second base -- failing to re-touch third base. Carlos Ruiz squeezed the pop-up, and threw to 2nd base to attempt the double play. However, his throw was late.
Before the play was even over (or before Scott Franzke could announce that the throw to second base was late), Larry Andersen explained that the runner failed to re-touch third base. He actually yelled out the announcing booth "APPEAL IT!", but, somehow, the Phillies' coaching staff did not hear.
Instead of two outs and nobody on base, Hamels was forced to pitch with a runner in scoring position and only one out, simply because Charlie Manuel and his legion of dolts weren't watching the game. Should we be surprised? Of course not; this is a team whose manager states "We don't teach walks" on multiple occasions, so why the hell would you expect Manuel to teach appeal plays to his team?
Luckily for Hamels, the runner attempted to steal third and was thrown out, and Hamels went until the 7th inning without allowing another baserunner.
Some minor mistakes Manuel made today: Juan Pierre should not be batting first, and Placido Polanco should not be batting second. Even if you just switched them in the order, Polanco's double-play potential would be reduced and Pierre's speed would be better utilized with an infield defense worrying about a runner on base already. I would have batted Ruiz-Victorino-Pence-Nix-Polanco-Pierre-Orr-Galvis; but Manuel went Pierre-Polanco-Victorino-Pence-Nix-Orr(!)-Ruiz-Galvis. (But, man, that is a terrible collection of eight hitters).
It is absurd to bat Orr, owner of a career .287 OBP/.335 SLG against RHP, ahead of Ruiz (.354/385) against the righty Cahill. This strategy may have cost the team a run in the second inning when Orr led off the inning with an out with Ruiz following up with a base hit. Also, this strategy should have cost the team a run in the 5-run Phils' 6th inning.
With the score 3-0 and a runner on first base, manager Kirk Gibson removed Cahill for LHP Craig Breslow. Laynce Nix was due up, and Manuel correctly replaced Nix with Wigginton (had he implemented this basic strategy in San Francisco with Mayberry or Polanco replacing Thome against LHP Lopez, this team could easily be 10-9; of course, this is a slippery slope -- if Manuel were smarter, this team could easily be 12-7, which is an absurd swing this early in the season). Wigginton singled, but since Manuel decided to stack Nix/Orr in the lineup initially, the LHP Breslow could stay in the game to face Orr, who is as effective against LHPs as I am. Orr struck out, and, somehow, Gibson did not remove the LHP before he faced Ruiz.
It was a mind-game between two managers trying to un-outsmart each other (outdumb? insmart?), and Ruiz's base hit broke the tie. This made the score 4-0, and Hamels later added a base hit to make it 6-0. If Gibson properly removes the lefty when he should have, this game could have ended up much differently, simply because Manuel stacked a minor league-LHB (Orr) behind Nix. If Manuel were paying attention on the appeal play, I'd consider declaring this as a game where he outmanaged his opponent; however, there are nine innings in a baseball game.
Jonathan Papelbon did not pitch the 9th inning with a 5-run lead. The fact that I even have to write that sentence makes me want to vomit.
The Phils have an off-day tomorrow before starting a 4-game set Friday at CBP against Chicago's National League team, when Roy Halladay faces LHP Paul Maholm at 7:05 pm.