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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Game 47: Papelbon again not trusted with most important situation (24-23)

The Phils won in extra innings last night by a score 5-3, thanks to Hunter Pence's two-run homer in the 10th.

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.


Robby Bonfire said...

I am a bit out of touch as regards the 76ers, but maybe someone can tell my why Collins benched and exiled Vucevik, or is he hurt? Seems to me, that, even with the growing pains and some mistakes, he was a force off the boards, plus he can shoot from the floor, plus he could have relieved some heavy minutes starters, which is a positive all around. Thanks.

And somebody tell Collins that Allen and Vucevik will be here making a solid contribution, long after he has opted for the old folks home.

hk said...


In February and March, Vucevic shot around 36% from the field and I think they either felt he hit the proverbial rookie wall or that he was soft. Regardless, I think Collins was only comfortable giving a lot of run off the bench to one rookie and he felt Allen was the better choice. I do think Vucevic has a future here as a complimentary (or is it complementary) player.

I am interested in hearing Scott's and/or Andy's take on the refereeing last night. While I would not use it as an excuse for the loss, I do find it frustrating and rather humorous that the only two moving screen violations were called on the Sixers (one on Thad and one on Lavoy). If there was a video dictionary used to describe an illegal pick, they could just show every one of Kevin Garnett's. His last one, to free up Ray Allen for a 3 was textbook blocking (if only he was an OG for the Eagles).

Andy Musser said...

" I do find it frustrating and rather humorous that the only two moving screen violations were called on the Sixers (one on Thad and one on Lavoy)."

I find it more humorous than frustrating, partly because the Sixers would have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup than beating the Heat, and partly because the NBA is about as trustworthy as the North Korean government.

Hollins set an illegal screen on Hawes in the first half, causing Hawes to fall to the ground and roll into a jump shooter on the baseline (I believe it was Bass). Naturally, the screen was not called, but the shooting "foul" on Hawes was whistled once the referee saw the jumper miss. The screen was certainly more flagrant than either Lavoy's or Thad's.

As HK said, pretty much every screen Garnett sets is illegal. After the moving screen they called on Lavoy, ABC showed a replay of a Boston drive down the paint that resulted in a basket -- it was either Rondo or Pierce. On the replay, they showed Garnett setting a screen that would not have been legal in the NFL, not only moving his feet but grabbing the Sixer as well. This replay was shown right after the illegal screen on Lavoy, with no mention from Van Gundy on the absurd display from Garnett.

The other egregious example was the screen Garnett set that led to Ray Allen's second three pointer, which pretty much iced the game.

If you're going to allow Garnett to act like Todd Herremans, then there's not much else to do but laugh when Lavoy is whistled.

Scott Graham said...

That Hawes foul was atrocious, and they went to commercial immediately following the play without showing a replay. I also lost my mind on the KG screen that set up the Allen 3.