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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Game 131: Manuel shows up his shortstop yet again (62-69)

Jimmy Rollins hit a pop up today. The pop up was dropped, and Rollins was safe on first. Awesome, right? Wrong. Charlie Manuel deemed that Rollins needed to be running at 100% effort from the moment he hit the ball (an out 99.9% of the time) and should have ended up on second base. As a result, Charlie Manuel removed Rollins from the game, which was only a 3-2 lead for the Phillies at the time. It's getting out of hand. Rollins is the only player on this team who is ever benched because of "not hustling", and it's only because he cares the least to disguise it.

When Chase Utley hits a pop-up, he drops his head in the batters box, curses himself, and then decides to run. Yes, he runs faster than Rollins, but he doesn't always run full speed, and when he does, he still doesn't get out of the box as quickly as possible (because of the head-drop). Charlie Manuel will be found hanging in Ashburn Alley before he ever benches Utley because of hustle, yet it's perfectly okay for the manager to constantly put undue media attention on the shortstop who: 1) probably took a discount to stay in Philly (and if he didn't then the other 29 GMs should be shot); 2) is signed through 2014, which means he will be here longer than Manuel; and 3) constantly produces elite defensive value combined with above-average offense for a SS. I thought this guy was a player's manager!

This constant benching of Rollins for not hustling screams of desperation from a manager trying to save his job. I dont't even care about the game itself (it's in the Phillies' best interest to lose anyway, for a protected draft pick when they inevitably give Michael Bourn 300 million dollars); in fact, the game isn't even over yet. Regardless of what Manuel does the rest of the game, it will not be worse than overusing-then-benching his only healthy infielder. What an asbolute disgrace.


Scott Graham said...

He stole second immediately following that play, too.

Francisco said...

Wait, if the Phillies should be trying to be at least the 10th worst team in MLB by season's end shouldn't you be praising Manuel for losing at this point in the season and curse him for wins? :)

Robby Bonfire said...

He's 70 years old, he doesn't have a clue, he has burned this team to the ground, he has alienated his players, and essentially made a mockery of the millions of dollars the organization has invested in FA contracts - so the GM who signed those FA's wants to bring back this man who exposes him as a contract weed-eater?

All I know is that if I have a subordinate in business who makes me and my entire organization look like a bunch of Palookas from the Ozark Mountains, I show him the gate. But then I don't buy into the "touchy-feely" approach to running a baseball team, all the new rage in these pansified times.

If this is a glimpse of the future of sports, same as we are seeing the private business sector coerced into making self-defeating hiring policy, this planet is in a hell of a lot more trouble than any Mayan Calander can threaten.

You figure that since this reticent GM has not fired this Betty Boop manager, he must be thinking he brings him back, right?

How many times did George fire Billy, who was agruably the best manager in baseball? Imagine the scene if Manuel had worked for Steinbrenner for 10 days? The heated firing confrontation would have made the Battle of Gettysburg look like a game of jacks. The best soap opera on the planet just rolls on and on.

Anonymous said...

Rollins is 12th out of 24 in SS batting. If that is above average, what is average?

Francisco said...

Scott, immediately after that he also committed a bad base-running blunder and got tagged out in the rundown. I think THAT more than anything else is what got him benched. I know it's popular to bash Manuel, but Rollins had it coming this time with that gafe running to third.

Andy Musser said...


Andy Musser said...

It's not clear if that was Kendrick's baserunning error or Rollins's; with one out and 2nd and 3rd, I think you should always be going on contact from third base. Regardless, Manuel said the benching was because of the pop-up, not the rundown

Robby Bonfire said...

I guess Jimmy is the one member of the team who doesn't qualify for a "He's my guy" accolade, no matter how badly he plays.

Funny how Brad Lidge won the "He's my guy" man of the year award in 2009 with his 7.11 era and NL-high 11 blown saves. You mean that NOW Manuel is pretending he cares and is setting performance standards (for the first time in his managerial "career") to con the club out of yet another contract?

Hope RAJ sees right through this typical plastic, transparent ruse.

Scott Graham said...

Not that I agree with Manuel's treatment of Rollins (or basically anything Manuel does, really), but I don't think the Rollins/Lidge comparison are the same in his/the media's eyes. Rollins is perceived to give a lack of effort while Lidge merely stunk.

I don't care if Rollins doesn't bust it 100% on 99.9% sure outs. In the long run, it'll probably save him time on the DL.

Robby Bonfire said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the impression I am getting here is that this team is just playing out the schedule and, to a man, distancing itself from a manager they assuredly want gone, asap.

Fascinating theory advanced, above, in that if you merely "stink" your job is secure with Charlie The Mule, but if you are hurting and have been ground down to fine powder, physically and mentally, you are a shirker and a malcontent. I am with Jimmy on this one, Manuel treats him like crap and looks the other way as regards just about everybody else.

hk said...

It's embarrassing to root for a team that employs Michael Martinez, much less actually starts him in RF. His OPS+ is 8 this year - I know, small sample size - and 38 for his career.

Robby Bonfire said...

Back to Bill James for just a quick point. And that is James wrote, in an old "Abstract" that, overall, teams that change managers in-season go on a winning tear.

What is just as interesting as the large volume of documented evidence, here, is the fact that James attributes this to players having to shape up and adjust to new ways of doing things, which gives them a fresh perspective.

If the Phillies had done what every other organization would have done, say around the All Star Break, this year, it would have vastly revitalized this team. Plus we would have seen the regular players and starting pitchers spotted for rest in better fashion, and a much more efficient attention to the details of winning percentage baseball, which does translate into a few extra victories over the course of a season.

Sadly, the usual clinging to the doldrums of this unbelieveably humiliating era in Phillies baseball history, just will never end.

And I am not overlooking the success of 2008, rather, I am convinced that this team having a capable manager over the past 6-8 years would have won it all two or possibly three times. We are like the Braves of Bobby Cox, one World Championship to show for a multitude of World Championship-caliber teams. Is that something to celebrate and revel in?

Robby Bonfire said...

Worst nightmare imaginable, in a sports context - just saw an article at ESPN Sports that says that Ryne Sandburg is a good bet to get a promotion to Philly to work under manager Charlie Manuel in 2013. There you go, manager Charlie Manuel in 2013.

It is savagely cruel to do this to Phillies fans and players, alike. Just wonder if this is coming from the GM, or if the GM is just a rubber stamp for the arcane, behind the scenes, P.C. ownership of this team? Nothing, absolutely nothing motivates this default ownership to salvage this sunken ship.

Robby Bonfire said...

The stunning loss to Atlanta means - nothing - the team had a computerized 0.3% chance of making the playoffs ~before~ the choke.

Can we just divert attention from this latest embarrassment by extending the manager two more years, please, Chico?