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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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Game 64: Manuel possibly manages best game of season (30-34)

The Phillies jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning of last night's game.  It's very possible that this was due in part to troubling managing by Ron Gardenhire.  The first four Phillies all singled to lead off the game.  Following Pierre, the Phillies second batter, Gardenhire made a call to the bullpen to get a pitcher warmed up.  Immediately, Wheels and TMac started talking about how Walters, the Twins starter, didn't look good, and how Gardenhire must have known this prior to the game from his warm-up session.  I'm in no position to  know this, but it seems reasonable, and given the fact that Gardenhire was ready to yank him after two batters, the Phils commentators were probably right.  Granted it's tough to do something about a questionable starter immediately prior to game-time, but if your limit is 2 singles, you probably could just start the game with the replacement pitcher.

That being said, the Phillies tacked on runs through the first four innings, but Cole Hamels was not his usual dominating self, and the Twins were able to climb back into the game.  This was due in part to Hamels, but shoddy defense also played a part.

Hamels started the 7th inning by allowing the first three Twins batters to reach on two doubles and a walk.  Surprisingly, but correctly, with a lead of 9-5 and two runners in scoring position with 0 outs, Manuel went to LHP Antonio Bastardo.  This was an excellent move as 3 out of the next 4 batters were LHB (Revere, Mauer, Willingham, and Morneau).  However, Bastardo came in and stuggled allowing 3 additional runs to score bringing the lead to only one run.  Ricky Botallico would have you believe that Bastardo can't be brought in with runners on base as he mentioned on Post-Game Live, but that's a really tough conclusion to arrive at given Bastardo's sample size.  Over his career, Bastardo has accumulated 288 PAs with the bases empty and 218 PAs with men on base.  Neither are overwhelming samples, but when you further break down Bastardo's individual base/out state PAs, the only number greater than 50 PAs is men on 1B.  Thus, the only meaningful conclusions you might be able to draw are his OPS against with bases empty vs. men on base, which is .606 and .646 respectively.  I'd argue that to Bottalico, but his head might explode.

The Phils failed to score in the top of the 8th, and with a one run lead and the bottom of the Twins lineup due up, Manuel used Chad Qualls to start the inning.  It was clear that Qualls didn't have a long leash, which makes this a good move.  Diekman was up and throwing, and Papelbon was ready to get warmed up if needed.  Qualls struck out the first three batters with the third reaching first base on the wild strikeout pitch.

Papelbon was brought into the game, and shut the Twins down for the 4 out save.

The world didn't end.

Joe Blanton takes the mound against Scott Diamond as the Phils try to win the series tonight at 8:10 PM.

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