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 28, 2012

Game 78: Manuel still doesn't understand run frequency (36-42)

There are two huge mistakes that Charlie Manuel made in today's 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh. One came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Manuel failed to pinch hit Chase Utley (or Jim Thome) for Mike Fontenot with two outs and two men on base; the other, of course, was Juan Pierre's hideous sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the ninth with nobody out.


In the sixth inning, the Phils had men on first and second with two outs. The score was 5-3, and Mike Fontenot (career OPS vs. RHPs .755) came to the plate. Chase Utley was available to pinch hit, but, presumably, he was not available to play defense. As a result, Manuel was obviously holding him out for a PH spot when the pitcher was due to bat. Had Manuel thought outside the box, he would have been able to pinch hit Utley for Fontenot, and then double switch Utley out of the game. Polanco would have moved from third to second, Wigginton from first to third, and either Luna/Mayberry/Ruiz to play first (Ruiz can also play third). In other words, defensive alignment should not have been a factor into allowing Fontenot to hit in this important situation.


Fontenot's .755 OPS vs. RHPs is not bad at all, but Utley's .900+ OPS vs. RHPs is obviously much stronger. Yes, Utley is past his prime, but so is Fontenot.


Allowing Fontenot to hit with two men on base and only ten outs remaining is irresponsible when you have Utley, Thome, and Ruiz all still available. Manuel has no idea if he will ever get another chance to get the lead-run to the plate; with only 1/3 of the game remaining and three awesome options off the bench, you simply cannot forgo this opportunity by failing to pinch hit. Fontenot was hitting seventh for a reason. Naturally, Fontenot failed to reach base, and the threat ended with zero runs in.


Utley was later used as a pinch hitter with one out and nobody on base. The score was still 5-3. Nice work, Mr. Manuel.


Now, that wasn't even the worst decision of the game! In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Phillies down 5-4, Jimmy Rollins led off with a single against RHP Joel Hanrahan. Alright! Not only do they have the leadoff man on base, but he is a stolen base threat. Guess what else? Hanrahan has allowed 31 stolen bases out of 35 attempts since he converted to a reliever in 2008. That's an 88% success rate. Rollins, of course, has been well over 80% for his career. So, Rollins is going to run early in the count, right? WRONG. You clearly do not know baseball. Instead, Baseball Man Charlie Manuel called for a sacrifice bunt from Juan Pierre (or, he didn't tell Pierre to not bunt; either way, it's terrible managing).


Pierre was "successful" in his bunt, moving Rollins to second base while getting himself thrown out at first. Pierre bunted on the first pitch; Rollins never had a chance to steal second base. When Rollins was standing on first base with nobody out, the Phils had a 44% chance of scoring in the inning. When he was standing on second base with one out, the Phils had a 40% chance of scoring. Manuel has consistently allowed Pierre to decrease this team's chances of scoring runs, and it's about goddamned time for it to stop. I don't care if Domonic Brown throws every ball into the stands after it's hit to him; at least he tries to get on base when he bats.


Since Rollins is a well-above average base stealer, and since Hanrahan holds runners on base very poorly, let's put Rollins's success rate at stealing second at a generous 85% (below Hanrahan's career number). If he decides to steal second base, there's an 85% chance he gets to second base with nobody out. In this scenario, the Phillies would have a 63% chance of scoring. As a result, the Phillies would have had a 54% chance (.63*.85) of scoring by simply deciding to send Rollins to second base. Now, it is possible that Juan Pierre reaches first base on an error or a hit if he bunts. However, he can still bunt after the stolen base. Unlike from first to second, you actually increase your chances of scoring (albeit slightly) when you bunt from second to third with nobody out.


Let's summarize: deciding to steal second base increases your chances of scoring by about 22%. Deciding to bunt decreases your chances of scoring. What did Manuel do? Well, if you're here, you know the answer. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were unable to drive in the tying run off an MLB closer. Just shocking.


Tomorrow the Phils head to the new hell-on-Earth stadium in South Florida when Cliff Lee faces RHP Josh Johnson at 7:10 pm.

4 comments:

Robby Bonfire said...

Bill James says that the steal is essentially a "break-even" strategy.
Steals + sac bunts = seems Philadelphia has yet another "Little Ball" manager, a "strategy" which went out when the lively ball era came in, 1920-1921, then reappeared when the N.L. went astro turf nuts, post Houston Astrodome era.

Of course Charlie The Butcher has never heard of 1964 and the primary reason that Phillies team collapsed. Well, when you put "little ball" strategies on top of burning out your two top starters with panic-driven relief appearances down the stretch, you forfeit your season.

It's almost as though this klutz is actually taking a page from Gene Mauch's failed play book. Oh, joy!

Robby Bonfire said...

With the loss to Miami, it's now a 5% chance this club will make the playoffs.

This club could lose 100 games and this werewolf of a human being would still be secure in his managerial job. At this point, a responsible and classy individual would voluntarily step aside for the good of the club. Somehow, I don't think the good of the club is remotely connected with his selfish priorities.

And if someone can clue me in as to what RAJ does for a living, that would be appreciated? One rumour has it that he's an ace on the "Bowling For Pesos," reruns on Channel 491, from Juarez. - but that's just a rumour.

Let's be honest, here, Ed Wade "spent more time at the ballpark" (by his own admission) than RAJ spends here on the planet from hell. Can we just bring back Ed Wade, now, please? You really start to miss the Ed Wade dynastic Terry Adams - David Bell - Real Cormier crowd, if just for laughs.

Scott Graham said...

Based on Manuel's response to the media last week, do you really think he understands just how bad he is?

Robby Bonfire said...

Does anyone, beyond this quite savvy website, really understand how slick this con-man is? This ain't your typical country bumpkin, down-home, just folks, next door neighbor, good guy, but so many continue to buy into that fable.

Why don't the players revolt agains this dolt? Or are they too well paid to care? Never seen such a caricature of a human being, let alone manager, in my life. This joke on us is beyond "stale."

Where the hell is the GM, on this fiasco? What the hell is going on, in Philadelphia, that about three people actually care about righting this sinking ship?

And in answer to your question, Manuel doesn't think he is a bad manager, anymore than a world class poker player thinks he is a bad poker player because he allows himself to be bluffed out of a cheap pot, early in the game.

In fact, I think Charlie Manuel
is one of the sharpest cons ever to come down the public domain pike. And one of the most untrustworthy creeps who ever lived. His is an honest face? I wouldn't trust him with my toothbrush.