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.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Game 57: Cliff Lee throws a lot of pitches, Papelbon does not (28-29)

Cliff Lee was cruising along last night, and after the first inning, Chad Billingsley was as well.  The Phillies forced Billingsley to throw a lot of pitches in that first inning, and tacked on exactly one run.  That's pretty much all the offense that would occur until the 8th inning last night because Lee went on to strike out 12 batters, and Billinglsey was effective in only allowing one extra base hit all night.  I suppose a small argument could be made that entering the bottom of the 7th with Lee's pitch count climbing, Manuel could have opted to pinch hit for Lee.  However since Galvis preceded the pitcher's spot with a bunt to the pitcher and the bottom of the Dodgers lineup due up, that leaving Lee in to start the 8th wasn't the worst idea.

This is pretty much all the "Lee"way I'll give Manuel though.  Dodgers "slugger" Matt Treanor led off the top of the 8th with a double.  Tony Gwynn Jr. was then used to sacrifice bunt Treanor to third (for whatever reason).  Had Lee not thrown the ball perfectly into the slide of Treanor, the result would have been men on 1st and 3rd with 0 outs.  Abreu was used to pinch hit for Billingsley, and since NO ONE was warming up in the bullpen, I suppose it was a fine idea to leave Lee in.  Abreu singled to left, and had Pence not made a great throw to third, the result would have been men on 1st and 3rd with 1 out.  I don't quite remember when the bullpen was called to get someone throwing, but when I saw a right-hander with a 5 on his jersey, I was pretty sure it was Papelbon.  So, you can imagine my frustration when Dee Gordon singled, bringing up switch hitter Elian Herrera, and Dubee trotted out to the mound to tell Lee it was his last batter.

This situation had a Leverage Index of 4.17, easily Lee's highest leverage at-bat of the season.  So, why not allow your pitcher who has thrown well over 100 pitches (close to 200 if you count the warm-ups) to pitch to this batter?  I couldn't understand (used loosely) why Manuel wasn't bringing in Papelbon, who I thought was warming up in the pen.  It wasn't until after Lee gave up the double that I realized it wasn't Papelbon, but Qualls who was getting warm.  This almost explains the lack of a pitching change since Qualls is terrible.

HOW do you not have either of your best relievers who each have pitched once since Friday.  Neither pitched Saturday or Sunday, and together they threw 43 pitches last night.  Certainly not overworked.  Instead, lets let an extremely tired (yes, he was dominant last night), recently "disabled" star pitched work over 120 pitches and give up the lead while the two best relievers on the team have the night off.

I guess Manuel was serious when he told people not to expect Papelbon to appear in too many games like on Friday night.  I certainly believed him, but last night was yet another situation that begged for the best reliever to shut down a shaky situation.  Lee was clearly out of gas as was evidenced by his giving up 3 hits to some pretty weak competition.  He had given up 3 hits total prior to the 8th inning.

Tonight, the Phillies try and avoid dropping 3 straight to the Kemp-less Dodgers.  Kendrick will take on LHP Chris Capuano, and if Shane Victorino is batting 5th, I might just lose it.

5 comments:

Robby Bonfire said...

Ah, yes, the Cliff Lee over 120 pitches "strategy." Harkens back to last season, when, after the Phillies had clinched everything, where the N.L. was concerned, Meat-Head had Lee throw 120 pitches in a late-season "nothing game." That, in fact, was the final straw that prompted me to bring all this ongoing subversion to the attention of a nationally-celebrated investigative author.

Can't say if anything is ongoing, but sharp eyes from afar are absorbing this manager's bizarre behavioral patterns - hopefully for a future expose.

Andy Musser said...

I enjoyed how Manuel lamented afterwards that they only ended up with 1 run, even after scoring in the first inning.

Hey, Charlie, maybe if you didnt play for only 1 run in the first inning (calling for Pierre to bunt on a 2-0 count after a leadoff double), you would have ended up with more than one run. Pierre's groundballs are mostly pulled anyway, so there's no reason to actively give LA an out. Pierre bunted and missed at 2 balls out of the strike zone, and luckily got Rollins over to third base on a flyout anyway.

Manuel plays for 1 run, and then is surprised when they only end up with 1 run. Billingsley isn't Jeff Suppan, and this lineup isn't the 2007 team.

hk said...

I missed the Dodgers 3-run 6th and I just read on the espn.com play-by-play that the Phillies intentionally walked Gwynn to load the bases. Is that correct or a typo? Did they think it was Tony Gwynn, Sr. and not Tony Gwynn, Jr., he of the career .319 OBP?

Andy Musser said...

Just saw this comment after I made the game post. It is a shame that the mistakes this guy makes are so obvious.

hk said...

Unfortunately, they are obvious to you and me, but not to Ruben, Mackinin, Montgomery, the mainstream media or anyone else who could do something about it if they noticed. Speaking of Ruben and the construction of this roster, how inspiring was it to have the tying run on base to lead off the 9th and (a) have no pinch-runner for the slow Wigginton and (b) have the Murderer's Row of the washed up Thome, the AAAA Fontenot and Schneider to try to extend the game?