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.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning, RHP Bobby Parnell, Ty Wigginton led off with a single. Manuel immediately chose to decrease his team's chances of winning by calling for a sac-bunt from Carlos Ruiz. Even if the sacrifice is successful, the offense is less likely to score a run in the inning. And, since you're using one of your top-3 hitters in Ruiz, it's simply a terrible move. Naturally, Manuel got lucky, and Parnell misplayed Ruiz's bunt. Two on, nobody out.
Placido Polanco was the next batter. Normally I do not disagree with sac-bunts that move a runner from second to third with zero outs (it slightly increases run-frequency), but when you're bunting with an actual hitter (Polanco, who has been hitting well lately) to get to a minor leaguer who is only on the team for defense (Galvis), then it unquestionably decreases your chance of scoring.
Making the decision even worse was that Parnell fell behind 2-0 to Polanco, giving Manuel a chance to take off the bunt until a strike is thrown. However, this would require Manuel to think quickly, and Polanco bunted at ball 3 to give the Mets the first out of the inning.
Here's where it gets worse: why is Wigginton still in the game? He should have been removed for a pinch runner (Pete Orr) immediately after reaching first base. Orr is significantly faster and therefore more likely to get to second on Ruiz's bunt and third on Polanco's bunt. Oh, and he's more likely to score from third base and only one out. Orr is also a better defender, so depth should not be a factor.
With runners now at second and third (and Pete Orr watching from the dugout), Galvis grounded weakly to second base, and Wigginton was thrown out at the plate. It is unclear whether Orr would have scored (it would have been close), but one thing is clear: it was impossible for Wigginton to score on that play.
Mistake 1: Not pinch running for Wigginton after the single
Mistake 2: Bunting Ruiz
Mistake 3: Not pinch running after Mistake 2
Mistake 4: Bunting Polanco
Mistake 5: Not pinch running after Mistake 4
Papelbon pitched the 9th and allowed a 3-run homer with two outs to lose the game, perhaps because he's had a week off for no reason.
The Phils look to tie up the series tonight when Big Joe Blanton faces RHP Miguel Batista at 7:05 pm.