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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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Game 2: Phillies forced to play in monsoon, lose (0-2)

Halladay marched out to his much anticipated first start in a steady, cold rain that persisted throughout the evening. The pitcher's struggles continued last night as he lasted only 3.1 innings, surrendering 5 ER and walking 3, but amazingly striking out 9. Halladay labored through the first inning, throwing 40 pitches, and the Phillies were again thrown into an early deficit. Braves starter Paul Maholm scattered 6 hits throughout his 5.2 innings of work, and the Phillies only runs came in the top of the 7th from a Chase Utley double.

In the top of the 4th, the Phillies were threatening with 1 out and runners on first and second. After a Kratz strikeout, Manuel sent Halladay to the plate. At this time, he had 79 pitches and had struggled considerably on the mound, but the score was only 3-0. Halladay proceeded to strikeout, ending the threat. In the bottom of the 4th, Halladay gave up a home run to Evan Gattis, stretching the Braves lead to 4-0. But after striking out Maholm and surrendering a single, Manuel pulled Halladay from the game with 96 pitches. Raul Valdes came in for relief, immediately walking two consecutive batters before Freddie Freeman cleared the bases with a double.

Why let Halladay bat in the top of the 4th? If 96 pitches were around Halladay's limit for the game, then the best result of leaving him in the game would have been a scoreless 4th. This would likely have brought Halladay to around 96 pitches, and his night would have been over.  Instead of pinch hitting in the top of the 4th and trying to score, Manuel opted to go with a pitcher that clearly did not have his best stuff.  Manuel did not have the foresight that scoring at the moment would be more beneficial than squeezing another inning out of Halladay. Pitching lost this game, but the pitching staff needs to be managed more effectively.

Cliff Lee faces off against Kris Medlen tonight, as the Phillies try to avoid a broom to the face.

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