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.

Blog Archive

95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Game 86: Phillies have no offense, and don't do much else well either (37-49)

Bottom of the 2nd inning, 1st and 3rd, no one out.  Polanco, who almost exclusively hits weak ground balls, was up at the plate with Carlos Ruiz on third.  The defense was at normal depth, and the Phillies must have planned on running on contact.  It's probably not the worst strategy given that it was the 2nd inning and the Braves weren't playing in, but Ruiz isn't fast.  Polanco hit a ball at Chipper Jones, who threw out Ruiz at home by a good amount.

Later that inning with the bases loaded and only one out, Joe Blanton came up to the plate.  I didn't want him swinging at any point, and definitely not before he had two strikes on him.  Blanton was swinging for the fences on the 1-1 pitch, which is terrible by both him and Charlie Manuel.  Of course, I ate my words as he lined a single to right with a full count.  MUCH more often than not he is going to make an out. A strikeout would be okay, but a ground ball is a sure double play, and would end the Phillies threat.  He shouldn't be swinging.

Fast forward to the 7th inning.  Jake Diekman was brought in to face the heart of the Braves order down 2 runs with 1 out.  Now, I was at the game, and the next sequence of events seemed very out of character for Carlos Ruiz from where I was sitting, so if I misconstrue something I saw our most reliable player do, I apologize.  Diekman is at fault for no holding Bourn on, but Bourn got a HUGE jump on the 2nd pitch, and that virtually means that Ruiz has NO chance of making a play at third.  Yet, he came out of the crouch to make a throw, and completely missed the ball allowing the runner on first to advance.  That same at-bat featured a much bigger mistake by Ruiz.  It was now 2nd and 3rd, with 1 out.  Heyward struck out on a dropped third strike.  Ruiz blocked the ball, which bounced in front of the plate.  At the time Ruiz picked the ball up, Bourn was a decent amount of the bag at 3rd.  Rather than pump fake, throw to third, or just NOT throw to first, Ruiz opted to get the out at first base, which allowed Bourn to score rather easily.  This extended the lead to 3 runs, and essentially ended the game in my opinion.  I'd have been much happier had Ruiz held the ball, and got the bases loaded.  He's absolutely conceding the run, which in my opinion officially put the game out of reach.  Heyward's run doesn't matter, and according to the run frequency matrix, with the bases loaded and 1 out, 0 runs score 33% of the time, which is a significant increase from 0%.  Best case scenario, he pump fakes, and probably gets Bourn.

Also, why can't Ryan Howard pinch hit.

Also, also.  I forgot to post this about Friday's game.  All of a sudden Charlie Manuel has Victorino batting 2nd again.  That's probably how I'd prefer it with a realistic outlook on a Manuel lineup, but it infuriates me that Manuel couldn't tell me why he did it other than to try and move Victorino around.  If he wants the 2 hole to have more on-base ability, I'd say that at this point this season, Pierre probably provides it.  If he want's the 2 hole to have more power then why wasn't Victorino batting there all year?  It pissed me off for months that he was getting up fewer times than people like Pierre and Polanco, and now for some random reason, Manuel decides to do it.


Robby Bonfire said...

Listening to Rob and that other Rope-A-Dope on WIP yesterday, they pulled out every excuse in the book in defense of Charlie The Mule. Not even the injuries excuse will work, because every other team in baseball has them as well. Yankees - M. Rivera; Angels - Weaver; Dodgers - Kemp; Red Sox - Pedroia, etc. This makes the Phillies and their apologists a bunch of whiners and crybabies - which is what they are.

What these people fail to understand is that the issue is that the Phillies anemic W-L record right now should not be excused because of injuries. It should be assailed on the basis that this manager has cost this team 5-7 games in half a season with his brazenly stupid player manipulations to go with his utter disdain for basic percentage baseball.

So that you can take the record of every other team in baseball, right now, and subtract five wins and add five losses to what it would be if this imposter were the manager.

One caller was critcal of Manuel and they jumped all over the caller by bringing Andy Reid into the conversation for having no Super Bowl championships to show for 13 years service. Of course, Manuel was given his WS ring by meddling outside forces, while a bona fide Super Bowl championship was stolen from Reid and the Eagles so that that year's title should have at least been declared "Vacant" by the gutless NFL commissioner. Crying shame Manuel has a ring and Reid, who deserves one, does not.

Scott Graham said...


Are you talking about Rob Charry and Dan Klecko. If so, I heard a little of their show, and it was brutal.

Also, you've mentioned how the MLB handed the Phillies the World Series at least twice recently. What are you referencing? I mean they certainly could have (and technically should have) handed the Phillies the WS by calling Game 5 in the monsoon. However, they waited for the Rays to tie the game to delay the finale.

Robby Bonfire said...

Yes, Charry and Klecko, who must be getting a "PR Bonus" from Phillies management or from WIP for their "house man" shilling and complete lack of objectivity and default honesty. This definitely is not sports talk radio at its finest. This is strictly a waste of the listeners time when a caller cannot even state the case for dumping Manuel without being aggressively assailed as to his credibility, by the hosts.

That's a great point as regards the "Monsoon game." However, the contrasting, overall view I choose to take is that the umpires were bought - lock, stock and barrel, to ensure a Phillies Series victory by Las Vegas interests.

Recall, on opening day that year, Tampa was 40-1 to win it all. So that by WS time that fall, Las Vegas stood to take a virtual red ink bloodbath, if Tampa were to beat the Phillies.

Now then, almost every single close call on the baselines went the Phillies way. Even more importantly, the strike zone squeeze on Tampa pitchers, but not Phillies pitchers, was outright scandalous, and Tim McCarver made direct reference, at one point, as to what was going on there, in the final game, when the TB starting pitcher (Steve K., the lefty) could not get a single marginal strike zone call.

The shame of this is that the Phillies were probably the better team, overall, anyway, and really didn't need any help, nevertheless, they got it, in spades. Glad they won, but had they lost, fairly and squarely, Manuel surely would not have been extended for two years, so that there has been a painful and extended give-back connected with that mystical good fortune the team came into in 2008. Now we are paying for it, many times over.

Scott Graham said...

Can you cite examples on the baselines?

Robby Bonfire said...

Don't have a video of any of the games. However, I will check to see what I can find at youtube, which is often times quite helpful, in this regard. And maybe someone in Philly can post the games at Youtube, for the rest of us, if they are not already there. For example, the entire seventh game of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals is at Youtube, with the commercials deleted. Yes, I would like to review every play and every pitch of the 2008 Series.

One of the reasons I am "fix" and "conspiracy" oriented has to do with the fact that the shading of calls by umpires was not unprecedented, in 2008. The clinching game for the Red Sox in 2004, is the original recent times hallmark for duplicity. Also, I recall there was a dreadful call against the Cardinals in game one of that Series.

Again, Tim McCarver, as the color man, subtly alerted viewers that all was not right in the deciding game in 2004, when, prior to the start of the sixth inning he stated: "Tony LaRussa is walking to home plate to ask the home plate umpire why Red Sox pitchers are getting the low-strike call, and his pitchers are not?"

Of course the Red Sox winning the 2004 WS was a P.R. and financial bonanza for Boston, and for MLB marketing interests from coast to coast. Once the outcome of a WS is tampered with, without a hint of scandal surfacing, they can do it again and again, consistent with insider financial interests.

We also saw a Super Bowl heavily manipulated by the officials for outcome, when Pittsburgh was given all the calls vs. Seattle. This one fooled nobody, however, as the NFL Headquarters were bombarded with protests the following day, so that subsequent Super Bowls have been beyond reproach where the officiating is concerned.

Each generation seems to have one or more of these scandals, points-shaving in basketball, point spread manipulations in football, fixed horse races are routine, and of course umpiring "incompetence" which suggests much more than that is going on, in baseball's WS, at least twice in recent years.

hk said...

There was one play in Game 4 when Tampa pitcher Andy Sonnanstine fielded a come-back grounder, caught Rollins off 3rd base and seemingly threw him out retreating to 3rd, but the ump called him safe. However, instead of attributing the call to a conspiracy, I'd sooner attribute it to ineptitude on the part of the umpire. To counter-balance that call, there was one that went against the Phils in which Rocco Baldelli pretty clearly swung at a 3-2 pitch and the home plate ump actually raised his arm to ring him up, but somehow the play got appealed to the 1B ump, who said no swing. So, instead of a K, Baldelli got on 1st via a walk. Again ineptitude on the part of the umpire more than an agenda one way or another.

Robby Bonfire said...

The Rollins call at third base was stunning, for its "incompetence."

I wish someone could and would chronicle the number of times in this Series Tampa pitchers threw the ball over the heart of the plate and a ball was called; and the number of times Phillies pitchers got a called strike on pitches clearly out of the strike zone. Giving one team control of the strike zone, while taking it away from the other team, is the big tip-off that something is fishy.

And we should never get too far from the fact that all these "sporting" events are big-time gambling venues, and insiders will always try to "crook the house." Cheating has been around as a highly-evolved art form as long as gambling and sports have been around.

As regards a couple calls going Tampa's way - rarely are the fixers stupid enough to give one side 100 per cent of the marginal calls, although that Pittsburgh - Seattle officiating fiasco could be the exception. Just off first quarter play I called my uncle prior to the start of the second quarter and told him: "Joe, the fix is in for Pittsburgh." And that game continued to the end to be as blatantly-fixed as any sporting event we could ever witness.

Rush Limbaugh, big Steeler fan, the following day on his program, said at the outset he didn't want to take calls about the one-sided officiating in favor of the Steelers, and he never did - because it was indefensible.

Eric Gregg has to have been the most dishonest umpire who ever lived, but he was never called on the carpet for his history of calling balls in the dirt and 6-12 inches off the plate "strikes." This fear on the part of sports leagues to investigate and punish game-result manipulation stems from the preference to avoid the black eye publicity which accompanies game-fixing scandal.

We should not so willingly go along with the "incompetence" cop- out nonsense. Not in this blatanly corrupt world we live in.

Scott Graham said...

I'm pretty sure you can get maps
Of the pitch locations and what the pitch was called by the umpire. I know they have these things for regular season games, and probably for post season games as well. While Bill Baer hasn't posted them recently, I believe he's done it in the past, and would know where to get them

Robby Bonfire said...

I am not welcome at Bill Baer's site. Which is good for both of us. At so many sports blog sites, if you have a constructively critical opinion of the home team to add to the mix, they put you down as a "troll," as someone who is a fan of another team and who is a deliberate "disrupter" of the site.

Funniest situation in this regard is the hockey blog "Rangers Report," where the host is openly not a NY Rangers fan (but it took him three years to publicly admit that, when openly challenged about it - by me, I might add.) So the host of that site is technically a "Troll." Comical some of these people are, yes.

And thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion here, critical of the Phillies as it is. I came here as a Phillies fan but am now primarily a fan of the Athletics. However I, like a lot of people, want to see the old baggage, as regards the Philadelphia baseball situation, resolved, for the sake of our sanity and satisfaction.

By the way, monitoring calls of balls and strikes via technology is fine, but I, for one, will take an expert in backstop judgment, Tim McCarver, at his word, especially as he was challenging the integrity of the umpiring and the entire sport, and putting his broadcasting career on the line, when in both 2004 and 2008 he made subtle references to the pronounced bias in balls and strikes calls he was witnessing. Maybe one other broadcaster in a hundred would have the guts to do that.