Jayson Stark attempted to clear up a few matters related to Charlie Manuel recently in his ESPN Insider column, "Rumblings and Grumblings." With a constant buzz calling for Manuel’s firing after a horrendous homestand to start the season, Stark believes the fact that no action has been taken simply because Pat Gillick has only seen his manager on the job for two weeks. That may be the true, but it certainly leaves the door open for Gillick to give him the boot later this season once the poor in-game decisions start rivaling attendance figures. Here are two quotes from the Phillies GM:
"Charlie is a very positive guy, and I think that’s what this club needs. The one thing I’ve seen so far is that this club has played hard and hustled and hasn’t backed off. … And I think that’s important.
"[T]he feeling I get, on the field and in the clubhouse, is that Charlie’s got these guys in the proper frame of mind."
While these compliments are likely true, it still doesn’t mean the Phillies can’t have a manager with these qualities and avoids managerial mistakes. One should note that there is precedent for Gillick firing a manager in the middle of the season. In 1989 with the Blue Jays, he sacked Jimmy Williams in favor of Cito Gaston after the team started the season with a 12-24 record.
But maybe with the victory today we should be a bit nicer to Mr. Manuel; eventhough he maybe should have pinch hit for Brett Myers in the top of the eighth today. The Phillies won 1-0 in Colorado after splitting the first two slugfests to take the series and improve to 5-7. Ryan Howard’s second home run of the season was all the Phillies needed in today’s pitchers duel. To his credit, Myers was throwing the ball well as he recorded five strikeouts and just a single walk in his first outing lasting over five innings this year.
Slowly but surely the Phillies are coming around to the 2006 season, but since the Mets are off to a franchise best start, they have a long way to go. The 10-game homestand starting Tuesday against the troubled Nationals – and also featuring the Marlins and Rockies – should give the Phillies a pretty good chance to make up some ground, finish April with a respectable record, and get Jon Lieber his first win of the season.