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.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
In the top of the 8th inning last night with the score 5-3, Chad Qualls came into the game to face Dustin Pedroia (RHB), Adrian Gonzalez (LHB), and Cody Ross (RHB). Pedroia has even splits, Gonzalez is significantly better against RHPs, and Ross is significantly better against LHPs.
Qualls has been much more effective against RHBs in his career than lefties, and judging by his miniscule 5.9 K/9 rate last season, he is probably more vulnerable than ever against lefties. When you have Antonio Bastardo in your bullpen (who is just as effective against righties as he is against lefties), it is inexcusable to allow Qualls to face the heart of the Red Sox lineup. Pete Mackanin, who was filling in because of Manuel's suspension, almost certainly used Qualls because there were two RHBs out of the first three.
Thankfully for everyone involved, Qualls retired Pedroia before facing Gonzalez. "Thankful" is the proper word, because Gonzalez launched a 404-foot home run off Qualls to cut the lead to 5-4. Qualls then retired Ross, and was removed from the game for Bastardo after David Ortiz came to the plate with two outs.
Antonio Bastardo, at this point, is simply a better pitcher than Chad Qualls. I'd rather have Bastardo face Ross than Qualls face Gonzalez for two reasons: Qualls is not as good as Bastardo, and Bastardo is more effective against RHBs than Qualls against RHBs. Also, if you bring in Bastardo to start the inning, and he allows a baserunner before Ross comes to the plate, you still have Qualls available to face Ross. Additionally, with Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes (both lefties) in the bullpen, you still have moves to counter the Ortiz pinch-hit appearance.
It would have been very interesting to see if Qualls would have stayed in the game had Pedroia reached base before Gonzalez's at-bat. My guess is yes, because Qualls is the "8th inning guy", and also because Mackanin's risk-aversion (e.g., erring on the side of not over-managing as an interim manager) is a factor.
Jimy Williams, we miss you.
Tonight the Phils try to win the series when Big Joe Blanton faces LHP Jon Lester at 7:15 pm.