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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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game 88: Mayberry bats 8th vs. LHP, Phils only score 2 (37-51)

It was evident, unfortunately, that Charlie Manuel would bat Chase Utley third and Ryan Howard fourth upon their returns. Manuel still believes the year is 2007, and doesn't realize that against left-handed pitching, Ryan Howard is less valuable than Shane Victorino, John Mayberry, Jr., and Ty Wigginton. It is simply ignorance from the manager that allows Ryan Howard, owner of a .310 career OBP vs. LHPs, to bat fourth in the lineup against such a pitcher. Colorado's starter was LHP Christian Friedrich.

As a result, Howard (.322 wOBA vs. lefties for his career) was batting ahead of 4 right-handed batters: Carlos Ruiz (.346), Hunter Pence (.371), Placido Polanco (.346), and John Mayberry (.376). You read that correctly: John Mayberry's .376 wOBA vs. LHPs was in the 8-slot, while Ryan Howard's less-than-100% wOBA of .322 was thrust into the cleanup position. Yes, lineup optimization is a marginal benefit, but when you are facing a young lefty who was significantly worse against RHBs in the minor leagues, and he is part of a four-man rotation that is bound by a strict 75-pitch limit, it is INSANE to fail to maximize Mayberry's PAs against the lefty, especially when you have a liability in the 4-hole. 

The Phillies ended up scoring only 2 runs in the game, failing to make up for the substandard outing from Cliff Lee. Because of the idiotic lineup, Howard's first 3 plate appearances were against the lefty Friedrich, but Mayberry only got two plate appearances against the lefty (he singled both times). Jim Tracy was able to remove Friedrich after Howard's third appearance and before Mayberry's third. As a result, Matt Belisle got to enter the game in the 7th inning against three right-handed batters, the third of whom was Mayberry. Belisle allowed only one baserunner in the seventh, striking out Mayberry for the second out. 

We've said here for years that Manuel needs to split up the lefties in the order, and he never learns. Batting Mayberry 8th last night is nothing short of disgraceful, and it's no accident the Phillies performance under Manuel in 2012 has fit that description. 

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