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.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
In the Phillies series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, the first base umpire blew a fair/foul call in the top of the 4th inning. Yadier Molina hit a hump-back liner down the right field line, and the ball was immediately called fair by Alan Porter. Utley, who was running toward the ball at the time it struck down, was irate at the call. It's a little disturbing that a player on the run has a better idea of a fair/foul call than a stationary human being standing on the foul line. It's hard to say the game outcome would have been different had the correct call been made, but it couldn't have hurt. Hamels struck out the next two batters, so maybe the score still would have been 0-0. The Phillies couldn't muster too much offense against Adam Wainwright, and ended up on the short end of the score. Maybe that can be attributed in part to the fact that Freddy Galvis batted 2nd (yes, he had a double in the game, but Jon Jay should have caught the ball). One of the things that irks me the most about the way Manuel manages is how he simply plugs players into the lineup where the person he's replacing usually bats. Similarly, it bothers me when Manuel puts horrendous batters in the 2-hole (see: Wilson Valdez). Galvis should never bat second.
Game 18: Beltran homers again, Galvis still batting 2nd (7-11)
That is all.
Game 20: Phillies score 1 real run, win 3-2 (9-11)
Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut and allowed two home runs. The Phillies somehow managed to outscore the Pirates by having the pitcher walk and score on a wild pitch and by getting hit with a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs after they loaded the bases with 0 outs. I'll take it.
Game 21: Utley given day off, Phillies lose (9-12)
Utley was given a day off in the second game of the Pirates series. Manuel used Galvis to play 2nd, and batted him second. Galvis had 3 PA and saw a total of 8 pitches. The Phillies only managed to score 0 runs in the game against John Locke's first cousin 9 times removed. The Phils lineup ended up with 4 hits, and ruined Cole Hamels best start of the season.
Game 22: Utley bats 2nd, Halladay pitches well, Phillies still lose (9-13)
So, we've been calling for Chase Utley to bat 2nd for years now. Lineup optimization suggests the best batter in a lineup should bat 2nd. Chase Utley fits this mold. I'm aware that lineup optimization doesn't yield enormous results, but when you combine batting your best hitter second with the fact that it splits up Utley and Howard, it really should be utilized every game. However, in this situation, it actually makes me angry that Manuel employs this strategy. He only used this lineup because the Pirates starting pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, is left-handed. The move should be done to minimize the effectiveness of LH relief pitching. By splitting up Utley and Howard, opposing managers need to decide if they're going to let the RHB between Utley and Howard face a LHP, or if they're going to make multiple moves to utilized matchups.
Halladay pitched well, Utley and Howard had hits, but the Phillies still lost.
Game 23: Manuel uses Aumont to pitch to LHB (9-14)
With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the 8th inning, Charlie Manuel used Phillippe Aumont. Aumont faced 4 batters and allowed 3 of them to reach base. Garrett Jones (LHB) was then inserted into the game as a pinch hitter. With the bases loaded, and the score tied, it's imperative that Manuel uses one of his LH relief pitchers to pitch to Jones. Instead, he stuck with Aumont, who allowed a 2-run double that essentially sealed the game. In this case, Manuel knows if he inserts a LH, Garrett Jones will be forced to face him. Instead, he essentially hands the Pirates the game. Adams or Papelbon could have been used after a LH faced Jones, but that would make too much sense.