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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Game 62: "Must-Win Series"? Let's have Papelbon and Bastardo throw 2 total innings (29-33)

It is certainly true that the Phillies have had an embarrassingly difficult time scoring runs in favorable situations like they did today.  The Phillies left 11 runners on base today.  When you combine that with the fact that Cliff Lee allowed 4 runs in 6 innings, no Phillies fan should expect the current team to win.

That being said, it is completely indefensible that Charlie Manuel CONTINUES to ruin this team's chances at winning baseball games.  I submit myself to local sports radio, and on Friday I heard a lot of "this weekend is a must-win series" and  "tonight's game is a must win".  While I definitely agree with these sentiments, I'm assuming this thought process was also held by Charlie Manuel, the Phillies "manager".  There is absolutely no way that Charlie Manuel can believe this, manage the team the way he does, and understand how best to give his team the chance to win a game.

Michael Schwimer pitched three innings in a tie game today, and Joe Savery was brought on to pitch the 10th inning.  Jonathan Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo did not make an appearance.  The Phillies CANNOT continue to lose games while their best relievers sit on the bench.  There is no over-usage that Manuel can use as an excuse.  The Phillies aren't winning enough games for Manuel to worry about using Papelbon in tie games on the road.  That logic is flawed to begin with, but he literally has no excuse with the state of this current team. To make matters worse, the Phillies have an off day tomorrow!

I also find it extremely annoying that while the Phils are in an AL stadium, Manuel repeatedly plays a defender that he knows he will want to replace in the late innings for defensive purposes (Pierre).  I'm not sure what else he can do if Jim Thome "can't play the field", and they insist on playing him.  I don't know what would piss me off more - the fact that Pierre starts and is removed for defensive purposes, or if Pierre were made the Phillies DH.

The Phillies start a series in Minnesota on Tuesday.  The Twins are terrible.  Expect the Phillies to struggle mightily.

9 comments:

Robby Bonfire said...

As I live upstate NY, not in the Philadelphia area, where I grew up, I am not privvy to a lot of gossip and rumors Philly locals may be up on, but so far I am not hearing anything about the manager's job being in jeopardy. Not even a "vote of confidence," the almost certain "death knell" is being uttered by (invisible) Phillies brass, whoever the hell they are.

So let's see now, this club, pre-season favorite to win N.L. regular season honors, is last in the division, has lost eight of its last 10 games, is 8 games out of first place in the division, and is a collective 20 1/2 games behind the four teams it is looking up at in the divisional standings.

When you factor in the fact that the manager appears to be completely senile and over-matched in the way he constructs a lineup and implements strategy and personnel moves in game situations, well, something should be festering under the surface in Philadelphia, but, alas, unless up here in the tundra where I am the last to hear anything, it appears to be business as usual at the ballpark, same as it is business as usual at the public library, where they, too, wander through a typical day in a dream state.

I don't know why I continue to waste emotion despising the New York Yankees, given that that organization is everything the Phillies organization should be. If the Yankees had hired Manuel instead of Joe Girardi, Manuel would not have even gotten out of his first spring training with the club that actually has standards of performance it holds its players and staff accountable for.

Scott Graham said...

I'm sure you're right about the "preseason favorites" thing, but I can't fathom how that could have been true. Knowing the Utley and Howard, their two best offensive players, would be out for considerable time, how anyone could suggest they're favorites to do anything is beyond me. Hell, once the Phillies signed Juan Pierre, red flags should have gone up.

hk said...

Throughout the offseason, I was very critical of RAJ bestowing $12.5M per season upon Papelbon. However, upon witnessing Charlie's brutal and pathetic mismanagement of the bullpen over the first 62 games, I am coming around to believing that a closer, if used properly, probably should be paid at least 1/2 of what a team pays its top starting pitcher. A case could be made that, if Papelbon was used properly (which in some cases means at all), the team might have 3 more victories than it currently does have. That's slightly less than 1 win out of every 20 games and projects to 8 for an entire season. Therefore, I shall no longer criticize RAJ for the Papelbon contract, but I will criticize him for the Papelbon contract in conjunction with keeping Charlie as the manager.

hk said...

Robbie,

Since I live in the Philadelphia area, I can tell you that there is next to nothing being said or written about firing Charlie. In fact, most in the media and still many fans go through hoops to protect Charlie and blame the fronto office and/or the players for the team's woes. The bad news is that Charlie "the best Phillies manager ever" Manuel seems safe for the forseeable future. The good news is that Scott and Andy can keep doing what they do.

Robby Bonfire said...

Scott, I certainly would not have made this club the pre-season favorite to represent the N.L. in the World Series, this year, given the injury situation, the manager's cloudy two remaining brain cells, the fossilized age of this team, and the AAA offensive "attack."

But I hope you are not disputing my statement that they were favored, as I check these things thoroughly each spring, starting with betonline.com, and wsex.com (world sports exchange) both for the Las Vegas and the offshore odds offerings.

This club was the prohibitive opening day National League favorite, I saw sports book venues quoting this team as low as 2-1 odds, or 33% chance of winning the N.L. playoffs. We know this has everything to do with the magic of leading off a playoff series with Halladay and Hamels, which, the books figure, gives this team a substantial edge.

What they didn't recognize was that the structural underpinning for all this front line pitching, was collapsing everywhere else you look. Hey, Vegas screws up too, on occasion, like everybody else.

Robby Bonfire said...

Well stated, HK, and right on the money. The Manuel - Papelbon parlay is one sorry loser.

Robby Bonfire said...

By the way, re Utley and Howard coming back, at some point, the question really is: will they have anything left in the tank? Hard to project that they will seamlessly recapture and be able to sustain their former all-star/HOF levels of production.

They are getting up there in age, and are banged-up and burned out from years of overwork/mangerial abuse, as is Rollins.

The Titanic had a better chance of making port after colliding with the iceberg than than the old guys have of resusitating their once brilliant careers, especially under this cue ball manager. Is Earl Weaver still alive?

hk said...

On another topic and actually pertinent to Saturday's game, were you guys okay with Charlie pinch-running Mayberry for Thome in the 8th inning of a tie game in which Thome represented an insurance run? At the time, I thought it was odd because (a) if Thome's lack of baserunning was ever to become an issue, it would probably be on a play in which Pence had already scored, (b) the game was tied and extra innings were surely a possibility, (c) the move cost them one of their bench players and (d) since Thome was the DH, they lost the ability to use Mayberry for defensive purposes. Sure enough, Mayberry, not Thome, faced RHP Darren O'Day in the 10th with 2 outs and a man on.

Andy Musser said...

I did not like the pinch-running move when it occurred. It was pretty clear at that point that Thome's spot in the order would come around again, and Thome's run would have put the Phils up by 2.

Wheeler defended the move by saying that the Phillies needed a faster runner on first base in order to break up the double play. This is nonsense, because the batter was Victorino. Had a play occurred where the baserunner had the chance to break up the double play (meaning its a slow developing DP), then Victorino obviously would not have been doubled up anyway.

I didn't include it in the game post because it was not nearly as damaging as the bullpen issues, but I probably should have.

I always hated removing Burrell so early for defensive purposes in 2007/8 while only up by one run, because it was obvious that they still needed offense, and it was clear his spot would be due up again. This scenario is similar, and there's just no way that the added speed from Thome to Mayberry outweighs the offensive talents of Thome/defensive talents of Mayberry.