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.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Zach Grienke was the starting pitcher for Milwaukee. He owns a career OPS-allowed against RHBs of .668; that number is .763 for lefties. The Phillies have three leftfielders: Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre, and John Mayberry. Two of those players are left-handed, and the RHB is notoriously awful against right-handed pitching; so bad, in fact, that it is the sole reason he will never be a full time MLB player. Guess which player Manuel chose to play against the right Greinke? Mayberry, of course, and Manuel was rewarded with an 0-4 night from him. All his PAs were against right-handed pitching.
Also, Manuel started Wigginton at third base instead of the lefty Fontenot. This is a strange decision, because Wigginton is bad defensively and also because of Greinke's strength against RHBs. Why did Manuel stack his lineup with these righties? My guess is this: he looked at the lineup from Monday's comeback win, and he figured to go with the same exact lineup in order to "keep things rolling." I honestly believe this is true, because he has stated many times in the past that he likes using the same lineup on days after wins. FORGET the fact that Mayberry and Wigginton only played Monday because Randy Wolf's corpse was the starting pitcher, and forget the fact that Greinke is a closer pitcher to Jonathan Papelbon than he is to Randy Wolf.
Manuel's idiotic strategy got all of 1 run through the first 7 innings, and the bullpen promptly collapsed when he was removed from the game. However, another lineup mistake from Manuel nearly derailed the comeback in the 8th inning.
With the score 6-1, LHP Gerardo Parra came into the game with one man on base and Laynce Nix coming to the plate with one out. Manuel properly removed Nix from the game against the lefty, and Eric Kratz hit a PH home run to cut the lead to three runs. Jimmy Rollins followed this with a lineout, before Shane Victorino drew a walk.
Now, there is one man on base with 2 outs and a struggling lefty on the mound. Parra is the Brewers' only lefty, so he was absolutely staying in the game to pitch to both Utley and Howard. Unfortunately for Phillies fans, their manager continues to stack Utley and Howard consecutively in the lineup. We have been calling for years to end this strategy, either dropping Howard to 5 and Ruiz to 4, or Ruiz to 3 and Utley to 2. Either way, you cannot have consecutive lefties.
Parra walked Utley, and thanks to Manuel's terrible lineup, he did not have to face another righty before Howard. Howard and the home plate umpire tried their best to end the rally, but Parra walked him as well before being removed for a RHP. Carlos Ruiz popped a 3-run double off the righty, but, of course, he would have been more likely to get a hit off the struggling lefty.
This is the type of game that makes me nostalgic for the days where the team would cover up about 80% of Manuel's mistakes; this year, they're down to around 25%, and the standings reflect that.
Today the Phils go for the sweep in a businessman's special.