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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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Game 143: Despite sac bunt, Phillies sweep Dolphins (72-71)

The Phillies are now within three games of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final playoff spot, even though they were trailing 1-0 in today's sixth inning and handed the opposition a free out. Josh Johnson is among the league leaders in allowing stolen bases, and Jimmy Rollins has a career stolen base success rate over 80%, so when he led off the 6th inning with a single off Johnson, the obvious strategy was to steal second. Unfortunately, Juan Pierre was the batter, which means everyone in the building knew that a sacrifice bunt was coming. When you sacrifice a runner from first to second base, you are decreasing your chances of scoring that baserunner.

However, when you sacrifice a runner from second base to third base with zero outs, you are slightly increasing your chances of scoring. So why not have Rollins try to steal second, and then bunt the runner over? It's completely asinine to hand the other team a free out just to move an awesome base stealer to second base, yet that is exactly what Charlie Manuel allowed to happen. Pierre bunted, and Rollins was on second base with one out for Chase Utley. Miami predictably walked Utley to face the weaker hitter behind him, Ryan Howard, and the strategy paid off with a strikeout. Things then looked bleak with RHB John Mayberry coming to the plate against the righthanded pitcher, but he laced a line drive to centerfield to tie the game. The Phils took the lead for good in the next inning.

Mayberry owns a career .305 OBP and a .393 SLG against righties. As a result, the Phils were very lucky that they were able to tie the game in this situation, which is appropriate, because they have been overcoming their manager's shortcomings for the past 5 years. Why not make it six?

1 comment:

Robby Bonfire said...

The short-term, expedient thinking is that giving up an out and moving the runner up 90 feet, is worth the trade of staying out of the DP.

Much better would be to try to use the hit and run, almost a lost art these days, to set up the big inning, not just the one-run lead "little ball" inning. But big-contract players don't like opposite field, non-pulling the ball, team-first offensive strategies and their enabler- managers all too often cave-in to this selfish mentality.

The "little ball" mania on the part of Gene Mauch killed the 1964 Phillies, and made them a perpetual "choker" laughing stock, along with the handful of other classic choker teams in baseball folklore. One would not expect Charlie Manuel to be well-read on sabermetrics fundamentals and the science of winning baseball, which is why "gut feeling" managers,today, are light years behind those managers who are serious students of the game.

When you ~always~ give yourself the short end of the strategic - percentage edge stick, you wind up paying for that in the long run.

The Phillies are "hot" right now, but really not very good, as their mediocre record emphatically suggests. Dreadful manager, offensive potholes all over the regular lineup, good to nearly- great starting pitching (measurably upgraded with "Stumblebum Joe Blanton" mercifully gone - five years too late) inconsistent bullpen, shallow bench = all this added up hardly seems worth getting excited about, but I hear some sports talk radio callers already conferring this year's World Series championship to this Phillies team. Good luck with that. I guess Michael Vick, of four opening-day interceptions renown, will also be leading the Eagles to the ultimate glory, down the road.

People are dreamers, light years beyond reality's confines.