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 26, 2012
LHB Daniel Descalso, batting in the 8th position, led off the bottom of the 9th inning. Since Tony La Russa's face is no longer in the Cardinals' dugout, the pitcher's spot was due up next. Since the bottom of the order was batting for St. Louis, and since a lefty was leading off, it was not wrong for Charlie Manuel to send out LHP Raul Valdes. Unfortunately, Valdes allowed a lead off single, after which Descalso was sacrificed to second base (probably the wrong decision from manager Mike Matheny).
Now, with a runner on second base representing the winning run and only one out, you must go to your best reliever in order to extend the game. Jonathan Papelbon had pitched the previous two days and wouldn't be available the following day after any appearance, so putting him in a potential 5-out appearance is not an issue. Furthermore, the next three batters were switch-hitting Rafael Furcal (who is better against left-handed pitching than right), RHB Tyler Greene (who for some reason is batting second -- another mistake from Matheny), and RHB Matt Holliday.
By leaving Valdes in the game, you are not only allowing an inferior pitcher to throw in the highest-leverage situation, but you are maximizing the talent of the opposition by allowing a lefty to face Furcal, Greene, and Holliday.
For the first time this season, however, Manuel's asinine strategy of "not using your closer in a tie game on the road" resulted in a win. Valdes walked Furcal, but struck out Greene and Holliday.
Tonight, Jonathan Papelbon is unavailable, specifically because Manuel moronically used him in a 4-run game on Wednesday. With the score 1-0 in the 4th inning, it is a distinct possibility that appearance will cost the team a win in the standings. The game post for Game 48 will land later tonight or tomorrow, depending on just how bad the Sixers game is officiated.