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.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Elbert retired Utley. Howard then grounded into a double play to end the inning. Elbert did not have to face either Ruiz or Pence, simply because of Manuel's autopilot laziness.
Manuel then correctly allowed Joe Blanton to pitch the bottom of the 8th inning, which brought Blanton's line to 8 full innings and only 2 runs allowed. Papelbon shut down the ninth. However, either Diekman or Bastardo probably should have pitched to LHB Andre Ethier to start the ninth. Ethier swung at a 3-2 pitch out of the zone; had he simply taken that pitch, it would have been an entirely different inning for Papelbon.
Manuel made another mistake with one out in the 9th inning and nobody on base, allowing a cheap single through the left side. The Phillies were playing a no-doubles defensive alignment, which is inefficient with nobody on base, especially when your pitcher cannot hold runners on base. Closers are notoriously bad at keeping runners from stealing, and Papelbon is no exception. As a result, when you play a "no-doubles" defense with Papelbon on the mound, you are increasing the chances of a cheap single, which then allows a pinch-runner to try to steal second. This is exactly what happened. Juan Rivera reached first base as a direct result of the terrible defense, the pinch runner advanced to second on a double-play ball only because he was running on Papelbon's pitch, and the Dodgers ended up with a legitimite scoring threat. All because of the asinine defense.
If the no-doubles defense is the best way to prevent a run in the 9th inning with nobody on base, then why not use it in the first 8?