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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Game 32: Bastardo unavailable, so Manuel forfeits game (14-18)

The Phils lost last night by a score of 10-6 to complete the sweep from the Mets. The Phils carried a 4-2 lead into the top of the 7th inning, when Charlie Manuel decided that Kyle Kendrick was the best option to preserve the lead. Kendrick gave up 4 runs, and the game was over.

Kendrick came into the game facing the 5-6-7 hitters for the Mets: the first two of whom were RHBs. The catcher, Rob Johnson, was due up fourth in the inning, also a RHB. With a 4-2 lead and Antonio Bastardo unavailable (I think he should have been available for a one-batter LOOGY appearance, but we'll assume his unavailability for the sake of this discussion), it's not unreasonable to toss out KK against the bottom half of the order filled with RHBs. However, if he runs into trouble, the leash must be very short -- he is, after all, Kyle Kendrick, owner of a career .890 (!) OPS-allowed vs. LHBs. Chad Qualls, for reference, is at .725 against lefties.

The Mets used LHB Kirk Niewenhuis as a PH to lead off against Kendrick, a somewhat unexpected move. Kendrick walked him. He then faced RHB Justin Turner, who launched a double to cut the lead to 4-3.

Now: the score is 4-3, tying run on second, and 4 of the next 5 batters are guaranteed to be left-handed. Kendrick must be removed at this point for either Chad Qualls, Joe Savery, or Jonathan Papelbon. Kendrick is so bad against LHBs that it really doesn't matter who you choose, as long as it's not KK.

Ike Davis is the next batter. At this point, the only RHB remaining for the Mets was their backup catcher, Mike Nickeas, owner of a .263 career OBP. Davis, however, owns a .824 OPS against RHPs and a .685 against LHPs. In other words, out of the 3 possibilities (KK-Davis, Savery-Davis, Savery-Nickeas), Kendrick facing Davis is the worst possible option for Manuel. Guess which one he chose? Davis launched a double to right, but the baserunner misread the play and only made it to third.

Somehow, the Phillies still have the lead at this point, and RHB Rob Johnson was the batter. KK walked him to load the bases. Had Savery pitched to Davis, you could have left Savery in the game to face Johnson (a AAA catcher) and then LHB Lucas Duda, who was the pinch-hitter following Johnson. Of course, Savery has been badly misused by Manuel this season, and Kendrick remained in the game.

KK hit Duda with a pitch to tie the game, which was a relief, actually, because I was fully expecting a grand slam. Manuel inexplicably left him in the game to face the top of the order -- LHBs Andres Torres and Daniel Murphy -- and Kendrick allowed Torres to drive in the go-ahead run before finally getting a double play off Murphy to end the inning.

Kendrick was lucky to get out of the inning with the score 5-4, and with the 3-4-5 batters due up for the Mets in the 8th inning, I assumed Qualls or Contreras would start the 8th. Wrong again! Kendrick was SENT BACK OUT for the 8th inning. He allowed back-to-back doubles, and then Contreras came into the game. Simply hideous managing by Manuel.

Why was Qualls never used? Why was Savery never used? Famed Manuel apologist David Murphy explains on

Chad Qualls? He had retired only seven of his previous 18 batters, blowing three saves in those four games.

Joe Savery? In his last three appearances, five of 10 batters had reached base, and none of them had struck out. After the game, he was optioned back to Triple A.

Brian Sanches? In two appearances this season, nine of the 18 batters he had faced reached base.

The plan, then, was Kendrick in the seventh, and Contreras in the eighth."

My favorite part is the last sentence: if that was the plan, then what the hell was KK doing on the mound in the 8th inning? Even the Manuel apologists acknowledge that Manuel can't even execute his plan correctly. More on Qualls here:

"Antonio Bastardo had thrown 38 pitches in the previous two days, rendering the only reliable middle relief option unavailable. Battered setup man Qualls was also not an option, Manuel said. He declined to provide a reason."

Qualls has thrown 3 pitches since May 4. If Qualls is hurt, then he has to have his roster spot revoked. With Bastardo and Qualls unavailable and Savery ostensibly unavailable (given his usage thus far) and Cole Hamels' suspension and Cliff Lee's pitch-limit, that looks like the Phillies have a 20.5 man roster. If he's not hurt, then he must be used in the 7th inning. Even if you just used Qualls for every PA where Kendrick appeared, their difference in talent alone may have been enough to win the game. You then could have had a mix of Contreras, Savery, and Papelbon to get the last six outs.

I know it's a SACRILEGE to ever use Papelbon before the 9th inning, but when you operate under such a ridiculous premise, the 7th and 8th innings suffer as a result.

The worst part of the game: the crowd cheering when Manuel walked to the mound, then booing when KK walked to the dugout. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you would allow 200-MPH line drives to Justin Turner if Reuben Amaro gave you 7 million dollars to do so. You're booing the wrong person, and it's asinine that most people don't realize that.

The Phillies are off today. Even more reason why Bastardo and Qualls should have pitched.

They open a 3-game set Friday at CBP versus San Diego when Vance Worley faces LHP Clayton Richard at 7:05 pm.


Anonymous said...

I don't think you guys are placing enough blame on Ruben Amaro. Isn't he the one who makes roster moves? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Andy Musser said...

The Kendrick contract is awful, the Papelbon contract is dumb, the Howard contract is awful, and allowing Savery to waste away in the bullpen for the past 8 days is absurd. I wrote this on May 2nd about Savery:

"If you can't trust Savery to pitch to two lefties with a 2-run lead to start an inning, then he should be sent to Lehigh immediately so Dom Brown's corpse can be promoted."

Amaro demoted Savery today -- even though there were 2 other games since May 2 that Savery should have been used.

By no means are we absolving Amaro of this mess; it's just that Manuel's mistakes are daily.

Andy Musser said...

Anytime we refer to Papelbon as the 50-million-dollar man, or any Domonic Brown reference, we're criticizing Amaro.

Robby Bonfire said...

This is becoming one hell of a Phillies - Eagles farcical connection in that the Eagles were pre-season co-favorite to win the Super Bowl, instead missed the playoffs and DIDN'T fire the coach who wouldn't know a defensive coordinator from a rock; and now the Phillies, heavily favored to win the N.L. pennant, or whatever they call the super-commercialized regular season /10 teams in the "playoffs" system now, and are are track to MISS "the playoffs," and are NOT ON TRACK to fire the manager, because that would be, 1. Amaro admitting he is almost as big a dolt as his guy in the dugout; and 2. it would entail hiring a replacement and why do that when we already have a paid for field manager, I believe the rationale is?

Some people never learn and think because the Eagles "had a good draft" things will be different for them next season, despite the mental sludge coaching staff; and some people think that because the Phillies lead off with Roy Halladay they are invincible. So let's just keep Charlie Marshmallow for the entire season, even if the team finishes the season with 80-wins or thereabouts.

Face it - they ain't gonna fire "The human marshmallow" until the attendance drops. It has nothing to do with how poorly the manager and the team perform, so long as the cash cow keeps playing her bell horn.