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 22, 2012

Game 95: Bastardo underused, Papelbon pays price (41-54)

Yesterday the Phillies lost in extra innings by a score of 6-5 to the Giants. Antonio Bastardo came into the game to relieve Cole Hamels when LHB Brandon Belt was due up in the 8th inning; Hamels had thrown 128 pitches to this point, a career high. It is insane to leave Hamels, a huge asset to your team right now, in the game for so long.

Regardless, Bastardo retired Belt on only four pitches, and he was not removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 8th. In the ninth inning Manuel did not allow Bastardo to keep pitching, bringing Papelbon into the game instead.The Giants led off with a pitcher's spot, and their right-handed option off the bench would have been Justin Christian, a career minor leaguer hitting .172 this season. Due up second was LHB Nate Schierholtz, followed by RHB Ryan Theriot and switch-hitting Melky Cabrera (who is not better against LHP than RHP). The matchups in this inning are neutral, and since the Phillies were unlikely to score in the bottom of the 9th (Howard was leading off against a LHP, which means you're ostensibly starting the inning with nobody on base and one out), you must plan as if you will play at least two more innings.

Instead, Manuel did not allow Bastardo, by far his second best reliever, to pitch to more than one batter. Papelbon was given the responsibility to pitch 2 full innings partially because of this decision, and he failed. He allowed a run in the top of the 10th, and the game was over. Perhaps he does not walk the leadoff batter in the 10th inning if he did not appear in the ninth.

This is not an egregious mistake, but one that shows a lack of creativity in regards to bullpen management. Surprising, I know.

Also, allowing John Mayberry to face the RHP Santiago Casilla in the bottom of the tenth inning is a terrible decision. LHB Jason Pridie was available to face him, and Casilla's OPS vs. LHBs is .766, opposed to .669 against righties. Then, when Manuel had another chance to use Pridie, he instead pinch-hit Ty Wigginton.

An all around terrible game for the manager, and yet another one-run loss.

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