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.

Blog Archive

95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Game 50: Mets manager screws up worse than Manuel, Phils take advantage (26-24)

The Phils won yesterday's afternoon game against New York's National League team by a score of 8-4, thanks mainly to Terry Collins's insane management of starting pitcher Jonathon Niese.

Niese struggled mightily through the first 5 innings, walking 4 batters against the team with the lowest walk-rate in the National League. Entering the 6th inning, he had thrown 105 pitches, and RHBs Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry were due up for the Phils. Niese is a lefty, and Wigginton (.815 OPS vs. LHPs) and Mayberry (.903 vs. LHPs) are significantly better against lefties than RHPs (.748 and .693, respectively).

When you have a pitcher who struggled badly through his first 105 pitches, the only possible reason to send him back out to the mound is to exploit lefty/righty splits. Expecting Niese to be effective against two RHBs who feast on left-handed pitching is completely irresponsible, and it backfired on Collins. Niese walked Wigginton to lead off the inning -- this brought his pitch count to 110. Now, this was Collins's second opportunity to remove Niese before it was too late (RHP Ramon Ramirez was warming in the bullpen). With 110 pitches and a righty ready in the bullpen and an absolute LHP-killer at the plate, it's embarrassing to force Niese to pitch to Mayberry.

To Mayberry's credit, he took full advantage, blasting a two-run homer to left field. THEN Collins took Niese out (comically, switch-hitting Freddy Galvis and LHBs Brian Schneider and Cole Hamels were the next 3 batters -- if you're going to force Niese to pitch to the right-handed power bats, you'd might as well just leave him in for the lefties). Had Niese simply been removed one batter earlier, it's not at all a stretch to imagine a 4-3 Mets' victory.

Thankfully for us, Cole Hamels is not Jonathon Niese, and Manuel remained errorless on the day (except for the asinine hit-and-run he called in the seventh inning, forcing Polanco to swing at a 2-1 pitch in the dirt after Parnell was struggling with his control).

Jonathan Papelbon appeared in the 9th inning to preserve a four-run lead; normally, this would be a cause for complaint. However, there is an off-day Thursday, and Papelbon hadn't pitched since Friday, so there's no issue.

Tonight the Phils look to win their second consecutive series when Big Joe Blanton faces RHP Jeremy Hefner at 7:10 pm.


Anonymous said...

How long can Rollins stay as lead off and not produce?

Andy Musser said...

If the question is how long "should" Rollins stay leadoff, the answer is -8 years.

If the question is how long "can" Rollins stay leadoff, my guess is probably Charlie Manuel's lifespan.

He obviously should not be batting in the top half of the order. I wrote before the season he should be batting 7th (link below), and nothing he's done this season has changed that.

Considering the very minor impact that batting order has on a team's output, combined with how tiresome it is to complain about batting order 162 times a season, we just don't usually mention it in game posts.

Robby Bonfire said...

Ty Wigginton batting fourth(!) There you go, "WS, here we come," right Charlie The Zombie?

Hey, can Juan Pierre bat fourth if Uncle Wiggly don't work out? After all, he's got speed to burn and could be the next Mike Schmidt, give or take 548 home runs.

Robby Bonfire said...

I see that four times Roy H. has led the N.L. in innings pitched. Hey, you wear Halladay, Lidge, Rollins, Howard, and Utley down to a frazzle, over the years, the piper eventually exacts his toll.

Anything surprising about this?

Scott Graham said...

4 times Halladay has led the NL in innings pitched? He's only played 2+ seasons in the NL.

I'd love to blame Manuel for anything possible, but Halladay's innings pitched last season weren't exactly astronomical. The prior season, combined with the post season, would be more alarming to me.

While Manuel has certainly overworked Halladay at times, I wouldn't say it's as bad as how he lets Utley and Rollins call their own shots when they want to play. Utley has bad knees, and he and Rollins have both been suffering nagging injuries for a couple seasons now. I think it's more important for Manuel to demand these players take off days than it is for me to blame him for Halladay's shoulder issue.