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, May 3, 2012

Game 25: Manuel gift-wraps victory for Braves (12-13)

This is truly getting out of hand. Here's what I wrote before this series from Hell began:

"The Phils start their biggest series of the year tonight in Atlanta. I am fully expecting one of these games to be a close loss aided by the manager. Here's hoping I will be watching the Flyers when it happens, though."

I was right, and, naturally, the Flyers weren't playing when it happened.

The Phils' lost to the Braves last night by a score of 15-13 in ten innings. Roy Halladay allowed 8 runs -- which is irrelevant, because the Phils took a 12-8 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning.

With Chad Qualls unavailable (because he has been pitching in situations where he shouldn't; see below posts), Manuel went to Jose Contreras to start the 8th inning. That's fine; the Phils were ahead by four runs.

Contreras allowed four of the first five batters to reach base: with the score now 12-9 and 1 out in the inning, Manuel emerged from the dugout to remove Contreras. With the tying run on first, the go-ahead run at the plate, and with only 5 outs remaining, this is a painfully obvious situation to use Jonathan Papelbon. Even if Papelbon can't go more than one inning (this would have been his third straight appearance), he must be used to finish the 8th inning -- then you can use either of your remaining relievers to pitch the 9th inning (Brian Sanches and Michael Schwimer were available). 

Of course, Manuel manages the game like a 5th grader would, refusing to pitch his best reliever in any situation before the 9th inning. It is more important, in Manuel's mind, for Papelbon to pitch with the bases empty with a 4-run lead in the 9th inning, than with the tying run on first base in the 8th inning against your main division rival. 

Manuel brought in Schwimer instead of Papelbon, and Schwimer quickly turned a 3-run lead into a 1-run deficit. Sickening. 

The Phils tied the game in the top of the 9th, but I would rather have had them lose it -- by only tying the game, you're inevitably going to lose the game, because Charlie Manuel is your manager and he still isn't going to use Papelbon in the 9th in a tie game (or the 10th, 11th, 12th, or 27th). Brian Sanches was Manuel's choice to keep the Braves off the board, which is just as ridiculous as the logic behind Schwimer's appearance.

The result was the same: Sanches allowed 5 baserunners in the 9th and 10th innings combined, including the walk-off two-run homer to Chipper Jones. 

Seven runs allowed by the bullpen -- zero innings pitched by your best reliever. It doesn't take a sabermetric perspective to realize just how dumb of a manager Manuel truly is. If the Phils miss the playoffs or lose in the ridiculous play-in game, it won't be because of Utley's knees or Howard's foot or Juan Pierre's uniform size; it will be the fault of the manager, who has already given away at least 3 victories. And it's only May 3rd.

Today the Phils look to win the series when Big Joe Blanton faces RHP Randall Delgado at noon:10. 


Allan Thornburg said...

If you really want to vomit, check out this quote from Charlie via David Hale:

Charlie used rookie Michael Schwimer over Papelbon in the 8th and never considered the alternative: "No, I wouldn't. We never do that. It's just not the way it is. Papelbon is in the ninth inning for a save. When we ever have a lead, when we start the ninth inning, he's gonna save."

Anonymous said...

Can we get a tally on how many times Manuel misuses the bullpen.

I would like to think its 125 out of 162 games.

hk said...

I can think of 5 off the top of my head...2 in Pittsburgh, the Lee / Cain duel, Monday night vs. CHI and last night. If I had more time, I'd just look at Scott's and Andy's recaps of the first 25 games, but time does not permit.

Scott Graham said...

We can begin tagging all posts for games with bullpen misuse and then they should be fairly easy to tally for us. We could also keep a running count.

It still boggles my mind how someone cannot see how a tie game requires the best reliever over a 1 run lead, 2 run lead...

If you're going to trust a mediocre reliever to not allow a run in the hopes of eventually using the best reliever to secure a lead, then why can you not trust that same mediocre reliever to close a game with a lead. The pressure is at the utmost when you have no wiggle room (tie game).

Andy Musser said...

I'll create a bullpen misuse tag (retroactively for 2012), but I fear that there will be so many games where that applies, it will still take some analysis to decide the degree of misuse (i.e., whether it cost the team the game; clearly, Atlanta game 2 and Pittsburgh Game 3 are the most extreme examples so far).

Andy Musser said...

Almost every game where Manuel has screwed up the bullpen should have a "overworking the closer" or "saving your best reliever" as well.