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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Game 68: Manuel goes to Papelbon to keep Phils within 4 runs (31-37)

With the Phillies predictably trailing a Kyle Kendrick-start 6-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning yesterday, Charlie Manuel used his closer for a full inning. In the top of the first inning, I predicted this exact scenario (Papelbon will be used because he "needs the work" since tomorrow is an off-day, even though had he pitched on Saturday with the game on the line, he. wouldnt. need. the. work.). Thankfully, I slept through innings 6-8, waking up just in time for the Phillies' tremendous 9th inning rally that involved all of two baserunners.

Jonathan Papelbon was not used on Saturday in the 8th inning with the score 5-4 Phillies, with a runner on first base with zero outs. Instead, Charlie Manuel chose Chad Qualls for that spot. Qualls surrendered the lead, and the Phils lost the game in 10 innings without ever using Papelbon.

Here are the only two possible reasons for Manuel's using Qualls over Papelbon in the 8th inning: 

1) Papelbon is the 9th inning guy. If he is used in the 8th inning, who will close the game in the 9th?

See Game 67 post below for why this is asinine: the 8th inning is obviously the more important inning once the tying run reaches base. This does not even consider the possibility of the Phillies' adding to their lead in the top of the 9th inning, thereby making it even less-leverage than the bottom of the 8th.

2) Papelbon is the 9th inning guy. If he is used in the 8th inning for a 6-out save, he will be burned out by the end of the year.

This is the one that is infuriating. The Manuel apologists love this defense: "You can't just use Papelbon every time the score is close! He will be shot before August!"

Papelbon has appeared in 27 games this season, 6 of which came when the Phillies were trailing by 4 runs or leading by 4 runs. Conversely, the Phillies have 8 walk-off losses this season. Papelbon has appeared in ZERO of those 8 games. Furthermore, if you add appearances where he is entering the game with a 3-run lead, that is 11 of 27 games where Papelbon has entered with the spread at least 3 runs. It doesn't take a sabermetrician to understand that using Papelbon 11 times with the winner virtually determined, while using him zero times in 8 walkoff losses, is just insulting to the fanbase. 

Let's recap: Papelbon couldn't be used on Saturday because he's the ninth inning guy, and because the Phillies do not want to overuse him. 

Papelbon was used the very next day. In the 8th inning. Down by four runs. BECAUSE HE NEEDED THE WORK.

Is this a hallucination?


Robby Bonfire said...

I know what the problem is, with this manager not being on the "hot seat." And that is the majority owner of the Phillies, and I must admit I don't know who that is, when asked about Manuel's job security, just regurgitates: "He's my guy."

Robby Bonfire said...

Seriously, why don't the Phillies players send a committee of three representatives to ownership and make the case for bringing in a new man?

Until that happens I have to wonder if anyone, from ownership, to the retarded manager, to the coaches and players, even cares about winning? Because how much longer can the fans even care, seeing this comedy in three acts spiraling downward before their eyes.

This slapstick comedy is worth spending hard-earned dollars to support? Says who?

Scott Graham said...


I'm not too sure the players understand why he's not a good manager. I think they like him, which is probably why he still has the job. I don't think the majority of baseball players think like we do.

Also, I don't understand how Manuel loves Jim Thome. Thome has walked a ton in his career, and walks are the anti-Christ to Charlie Manuel.

Robby Bonfire said...

It stands to reason that Manuel detests walks, and players with a high OBP, thus we have had Rollins with his consistenly low OBP in the leadoff slot - with even a couple sub-.300 OPB seasons - since George Washington was playing with a rattle in his crib.

Of course the fact that 50 per cent of players who walk, subsequently score, would explain Manuel's philosophical opposition to that "team first" concept. Putting the Phillies best interests first has never enticed Manuel.

Just remember, if you are a player who is NOT producing, such as a low OBP lead-off man, a Closer who can't get anybody out (Lidge, 2009; Adams, 2005, Cormier the last two years of his career); a banged-up veteran who needs rest (Ibanez in August of 2009; an uninspired veteran just going through the motions playing out his fat FA contract (David Bell); A geriatric corner infielder with no power (Polanco); a 34-year old leadoff slot imposter/"speedster" who is keeping a budding five-tool player in the minors, etc., Manuel loves you.

All others please consider going into a slump - for the good of the democratic manager who never likes to show up the opposing team by beating them. That would be unfair.