Blatant Bullpen Misuse

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, May 03, 2010 10:30 PM | Comments: 66

I understand your stance. Charlie Manuel has led this team to two consecutive World Series appearances. Rich Dubee has worked with these pitchers for several years and he knows his personnel better than a sportswriter does. Gotcha.

But World Series appearances do not immunize a coaching staff from ever being criticized. They absolutely should not serve as a protective blanket for a manager or a fall-back for fans who blindly follow that manager.

Should we never question Joe Girardi’s over-managing because the team he coached won a World Series last year? Is Bobby Cox allowed to play Melky Cabrera everyday without public retribution just because the Braves won a bunch of pennants?

Charlie Manuel makes a ton of good decisions. His ability as a manager extends far beyond strategic moves. He is the perfect leader of these men because of his laid-back, consistent temperament.

Even before a corner was turned in 2007, the mantra for Charlie Manuel’s Phillies has been “one-game-at-a-time,” a cliche thrown around often but perfected by this squad. Manuel has a ton of good qualities. This is by no means an article bashing the manager.

This is an article bashing the blatant misuse of the Phillies bullpen since last Friday’s 9-1 loss to the Mets.

Let’s start with the most recent game – Monday night’s loss to the Cardinals – and then work our way back through the Mets series.

The Joe Blanton Debut Game

Kentucky Fried Starter pitched six very good innings before running into a bit of trouble in the seventh. Nick Stavinoha led off with a homer, making it 2-1 Cardinals, but Blanton proceeded to retire two of the next three hitters. Albert Pujols hit a liner to center that dropped in just in front of Shane Victorino, and a call to the pen was made.

For Nelson Figueroa…

Not Contreras, or Romero, or even David Herndon. Not Chad Durbin, either. Durbin was unusable because he pitched two innings in Sunday night’s 11-5 win over the Mets. Two innings that could have been eaten by the guys coming back from injuries.

Durbin’s been one of the better relievers this year. Shouldn’t he be saved for meaningful situations?

In came Figueroa, a Clay Condrey-type whose sole purpose in the major leagues is to eat dead innings in blowout games or avail himself for a spot start here-and-there.

Figueroa is not a late & close reliever. He is not the guy you go to with two men on in a one-run ballgame in the seventh inning. Manuel had long been ejected by this point so you would have to imagine Rich Dubee was the man who made this call.

It didn’t work.

Figueroa threw one wild pitch, almost threw another, walked Matt Holliday, then gave up a three-run double to David Freese. For good measure, Figgy then allowed an RBI single to Colby Rasmus and it was 6-1.

The Phils hit two solo homers afterwards but the game was over as soon as Figueroa trotted to the mound. Blanton finished with a “meh” pitching line that in no way reflected how well he pitched.

The night before, a few bad managerial decisions were overshadowed by a monster nine-run fourth inning. But let’s take a closer look.

The Moyer-Walk Game

Subsequent results do not make a bad decision a great one. Allowing Jamie Moyer to bat with the bases loaded in a 5-3 game against Johan Santana was not a good decision. Before you throw your arms in the air, let me explain.

Johan Santana has walked 2 batters per 9 innings since becoming a full-time starter in the major leagues. Jamie Moyer is the least imposing hitter in the history of existence. Manuel didn’t send Moyer up to the plate in that situation knowing he would walk.

None of us knew he would walk. 99 times out of 100, that situation plays out like this: Moyer makes an out, Phillies strand three; 5-3 Mets after four innings.

It’s not a good decision just because Moyer walked, then Victorino hit a slam, then Polanco singled, then Utley hit a two-run tortata. That’s basing your assessment off of extremely improbable subsequent results. That’s being one of those people that acts like hindsight isn’t 20/20.

Moyer had pitched terribly in the first four innings of that game. He represented nothing at the plate or on the mound. THAT is a situation when you have Nelson Figueroa warming up. Moyer made two awful mistakes to David Wright and Rod Barajas, and about four more to Gary Matthews Jr. and Jeff Francoeur, who each hit mammoth foul home runs.

In that situation, you pinch-hit, no matter if it’s the fourth inning or the eighth inning. If the Phillies didn’t score nine runs and the Mets wound up winning that game, trust me, I would not be the only person writing this article.

What bugged me the most about the decision (even though I thoroughly enjoyed the game itself and watched it twice more on replay later that night,) is that if it were the 5th inning rather than the 4th, Manuel most certainly WOULD have pinch-hit for Moyer.

Why? Because managers have this fetish about the starter going at least five innings. It’s like bringing in your closer for a three-run save – most managers just do it because other managers do it.

The five-inning cutoff is understandable in the sense that a pitcher must go five innings to get a win, but it makes no sense when a pitcher is down 5-3 and pitching like a 47-year-old Kyle Kendrick.

What would have been the big deal about putting Figueroa in to pitch the fifth and sixth? Then you have three innings to kill between a handful of relievers that haven’t been overworked.

Whatever. All’s well that ends well. I am sure I’ll hear a lot of complaints for mentioning this, but please just remember that if it didn’t work out perfectly, I would not be the only one writing about it.

You know what did work out perfectly?

Halladay Goes Complete

Roy Halladay is an abnormal breed of pitcher. He can throw a lot of pitches without losing velocity or effectiveness. He can move the ball and hit spots as well in the ninth as he can in the second. He went complete in a 10-0 game to rest the bullpen. No major problem there.

And, finally:

Baez for Two?

With the Phillies down 4-1 entering the sixth inning last Friday, Danys Baez was called on to replace the legendary Kyle Kendrick. Baez retired the side in order, inducing outs from Jason Bay, David Wright, and the 62nd best prospect according to Baseball America that is a “phenom” according to broadcasters just because he went 11-for-his-first-36. You may know him as Ike Davis.

(In other news, how’s that young phenom Jason Donald doin’ for the Indians organization?) See my point? I digress.

Baez pitched a scoreless sixth and, for some unfathomable reason, was sent out to pitch the seventh. The game was still close. It was 4-1. Jon Niese had been shutting down a dead offensive team, but he was not overpowering in any shape or form and this was not a game out of reach.

Baez hit Jeff Francoeur, who then stole second. Rod Barajas doubled him in. Baez walked the next batter, who just so happened to be the pitcher, Niese. Angel Pagan tripled them both in. Bye-bye, Baez.

Who in the dugout thought it would be a great idea to select Baez as a two-inning pitcher over Nelson Figueroa, Chad Durbin, or Jose Contreras? Figueroa and Durbin both have a ton of experience as long-relievers, and Contreras was a starter up until the middle of last year. But Baez is the guy you go to when you need more than one inning?

Baez has significantly worse numbers in pitches 26-50 than he does in the first twenty-five. The last three times he went more than an inning last year in Baltimore, Baez gave up runs each time and took the loss each time. In his only other one-plus inning outing with the Phils, he blew a save in Arizona.

Plus, Danys Baez has absolutely stunk this year. The only thing he’s done right is induce ground balls, but who cares about ground balls when you’ve allowed nine runs, sixteen baserunners, and two homers in ten innings?

The decision to keep Baez in for a second inning turned a 4-1 game into a blowout.

Moving Forward

The Phillies are 14-11. It’s May 3rd. The team is still trying to get healthy and has yet to hit its stride. This isn’t a “sky is falling” article. It’s just that of these eleven losses, several of them could have turned out different had more reasonable decisions been made.

It is evidently clear that neither Manuel nor Dubee knows yet how to use this bullpen. There are a lot of new faces (Contreras, Baez, Herndon, Figgy,) and injured guys (Lidge, Romero, now Madson.) The only constant has been Chad Durbin.

In looking at possible late-inning solutions, how about Contreras? He’s struck out 12 batters in 6 2/3 innings. He’s allowed one run, a walkoff homer to Nate McLouth in the crazy Momentum Shift Game in Atlanta. He deserves a shot in late & close situations more than Figueroa or Baez.

At some point, the bullpen will become established and guys will settle down into roles. But until that time, we shouldn’t refrain from commenting on dumb decisions just because this team won a World Series two years ago.

(Pat Gallen’s video recap is coming later.)

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 rob5000

    Corey, if you went back and edited your longer articles a few more times I honestly believe you could go far as a journalist. This article is top notch. I laughed out loud several times and I cannot disagree with you on much. Makes you wonder sometimes about these managers… good guess I suppose.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Ha, I have a lot to say! I wouldn’t know what to edit out.

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    I agree about Fig. If memory serves, didn’t he fare similarly poorly in Game 3 against the Giants? Dude’s not a specialist…

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    This is EXCELLENT analysis. We DO NOT use our bullpen intelligently. And we have a penchant to keep starters in the game too long , like tonight with Joe Blanton’s first start of the year. Jose Contrares should have been called in instead of Figueroa. Great analysis, Corey. You would think that the brains of the Phils would address this. I hope they read this article and take it to heart.

  • Posts: 0 zambonirodeo

    I feel like they keep pitching Herndon and Figueroa more than they should, in situations that they shouldn’t, as a “sink or swim” kind of deal. Eventually one of them’s gotta go (or else they’ll look just bad enough in crucial situations that the Phillies will be able to keep ‘em).

  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    “Jamie Moyer is the least imposing hitter in the history of existence.”

    You’re probably right, but he is certainly not the worst batter. I was really impressed with that at-bat because Moyer did not swing at any balls and was able to foul off a strike or two to stay alive. Too often batters (especially pitchers that are batting) would have helped Santana out by swinging at a bad pitch or assuming that he was going to attack him with all fastballs in the zone. Moyer took what he was given and showed discipline at the plate.

    Joe Morgan actually made a good point (even though I think it was a bit of a stretch) that Moyer’s previous AB where he hit it hard might have altered Santana’s approach. I think Jamie deserves some credit for that AB; but there’s no question Santana does not walk people and I couldn’t believe he walked Moyer. After he did though, you knew he lost the edge against Victorino.

  • Posts: 0 Pat Gallen

    Addressing the Moyer AB, Charlie said there was no way he was coming out in the 4th. He didnt think he was pitching that badly and he wanted to sort of let him breathe like a fine wine. I’m using my own words there.

    Should he have taken Moyer out? I agree that a pinch-hitter may have been the better idea, but do you really want to make it a habit of taking out your starters after 4? The bullpen is already in a tough spot, why make it harder for them. So I understand where Charlie is coming from there. But who knows whether or not this is the right call.

    Baez can throw 2 innings, he’s getting paid to be a guy like that, so let him try it. It’s early and you have to figure out what players can and cannot do. And Charlie is hard headed, so you’ll likely see Baez throw 2 at some point again, though maybe not anytime soon.

    Charlie did say tonight once there is some normalcy with the pitching staff, everything will work itself out, roles will be defined.

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    I see your points, Brian and Pat, but:

    1) Taking Moyer out in the 4th inning of a game he’s pitched poorly in does not = a habit of taking your pitchers out in the 4th inning. When a pitcher is not pitching well and he comes up with the bases loaded and two outs against one of the best pitchers in the game, you make the most of that opportunity. Keeping Moyer in worked out, but that was the exception rather than the rule. 9/10 times that does not happen.

    2) Just because Baez is making $5.25M over two years doesn’t mean he’s an ideal two-inning reliever. Plenty of the game’s highest-paid relievers are one-inning guys. The fact that Baez has not traditionally had success in his second inning of work, and the Phillies HAVE three or four guys in the pen who are built to go multiple innings, choosing a struggling Baez to go two is a really strange decision.

    The guy had a 1-2-3 inning, let him gain confidence from that and sit his ass down in the dugout.

  • Posts: 0 adam

    Charlie said it wouldn’t send a good message to pinch hit for Moyer in the 4th.

    You’re right Charlie isn’t above criticism: Baez for 2 innings was a bad idea; Figgy wasn’t the best choice for a 2-on 2-out scenario.

    But when Charlie makes a decision for the psyche of the team, the ring does make him off limits.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    Nelson Figuerora and David Herndon have both found themselves on the mound in moments that are way bigger than they should ever be on the mound for. neither of those guys should be within 100 ft of the mound unless the score is 8 runs apart in either direction.

  • Posts: 0 Gaze_NJ

    Excellent piece! All of the same thoughts crossed my mind for the past few days.

    And I’ll even go one step further… Why pitch Halladay in the 8th and 9th of that game on Saturday? It’s an uncharacteristically hot afternoon, the game’s a blowout, and Roy is a guy you’re going to need complete games from down the stretch and when the score is close.

  • Posts: 0 kevin

    first time on the site, great article i thoroughly enjoyed reading it… so true manuel’s five inning fetish, moyer had no right in the world to be out there in that situation yet it was definitely one of my most enjoyable moments as a fan in years when he got walked

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    Gaze, I do agree with you. Halladay was noticeably flustered by the home-plate umpire early in Saturday’s game, and the close-ups of his sweat-ridden forehead led me to believe the heat was playing a role.

    If it were literally any pitcher other than Halladay or Cliff Lee, I would have completely opposed sending a pitcher out to complete a 10-0 game. But Halladay absolutely cruised through the final three frames and was just as effective in each one as he was earlier in the game. The decision to leave him out there was understandable, which is something I cannot say about the other decisions listed above.

  • Posts: 0 Nunzio Scholeri

    Spot-on analysis, Corey. From what I’ve seen as a fan, it seems like Charlie has a tendency to manage more by arbitrary rules of what you’re “supposed” to do in a given situation than by what actually makes the most sense.

    You point out the example of keeping the starter in the game for 5 innings, but an even more cut-and-dry example is his choice of Figueroa tonight. With a couple of men on base in a close game, you want to bring in someone who can absolutely shut down that inning. At the very least you want someone who can be relied on to do better than your starter when your starter is showing a few cracks in his performance.

    But because it was the 6th inning, Charlie went with one of his designated middle of the game guys. He ignored the fact that Figueroa is not a come-in-and-shut-’em-down pitcher and ignored the situation on the field, and brought in one of the worst possible options for the situation, and the only apparent explanation is that he wanted to save the other guys for the 8th/9th innings. Well look, Charlie, you have to get there first. If you’re already in trouble, you bring in someone you can count on to get you out of that trouble right away. You don’t bring in a mop-up middle reliever who is almost guaranteed to give up hits when a hit means your lead evaporates.

    Frustrations aside, I will say that I was impressed by Lidge’s performance in his one inning today. He didn’t look 100%, but he looked better than he ever looked in ’09. He was getting fastballs down and throwing them hard, and his slider had a huge break to it that was getting people fishing. Some of his fastballs were elevated and his control wasn’t spot-on, but tonight he showed that the tools are there, and if we’re lucky he’s close to getting them all working consistently.

  • Posts: 0 Nunzio Scholeri

    Oh, and by Charlie I mean Dubee since Charlie had been ejected. I feel stupid now.

    Still, the point applies to Charlie even if he didn’t make this one specific bad move. I like the guy, but he needs to think less about going by the book and more about the situation on the field.

  • Posts: 0 dmarley

    adam got it right @ 1253am when he said we should trust Charlie on the psychological stuff. Pinch-hitting for your pitcher when you’re only down 2 runs in the 4th inning of a home game is a bit of desperation move when you’ve got an offense (and bullpen) like this. Even if Moyer had ended the inning, top of the lineup was coming up against a hittable Santana, and having already given up 5 runs, Moyer had presumably weathered his weekly storm by then (which turned out to be true). One of the trickiest decisions of the year so far — totally post-worthy — but this time Charlie’s a genius once again. Anyway, otherwise I agree with the criticism of the bullpen moves, Figueroa yesterday especially.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Excellent write up. I was very surprised to see Moyer come up in the 4th on Sun. While I love the results, I aslo think it was the wrong decision. Moyer wasn’t really pitching that poorly, but the strike zone was tiny – deadly for someone who lives on the fringes.
    The bullpen is a slightly different matter. I don’t think Charlie and Dubee have any idea of what they have right now. Better to trial guys in May while you’re up towards the top than have to find out in July. At some point, they are going to have to thin out the pen, so I think they are also auditioning for the rest of the season. You still have to try to win games, though. This offense can get hot at any time – 3 runs isn’t a huge lead against the Phils. Charlie is great – I’d take him any day over Joe from NY (Yanks won despite him, not because of him), but he hasn’t managed the pen that well.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I agree. The bullpen is a hodge podge of unkown quantities right now. If Charlie is just feeling his way through to try and get his roles figured out, and given the guys he has to work with that OK’s. For about another week. The good news is that Lidge looked great last night. Like Ricky said: That slider he throws for strikes was effective as was his strikeout. More importantly, his fastball blew up at the catchers mitt. Lotta life. Fingers crossed.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    “as was his strikeout slider”

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 phatti

    In Manuel’s defense, I think he’s still trying to figure out what these guys can do. As you point out, the only guy he’s got a firm handle on is Durbin; everyone else is either new or coming off an injury. It doesn’t help that Baez, who I think the Phils thought of as a big part of the pen, has been ineffective, and Madsen’s stupid injury is messing everything up.

    With that said, I agree that using Figueroa in that spot was surprising. Contreras, who has looked good, would have been a better option, but I think Charlie was saving him for later (maybe to close if necessary?)

    I agree that pinchhitting for Moyer would have been the better move (and then use Figueroa for the 5th and 6th). Using Baez for two innings on Friday clearly blew up in our faces, but again, I think Charlie was trying to figure out what he can do. I doubt we’ll see that again for a while.

    Good article and analysis.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    How about Contreras for closer?…..either….. until Lidge is ready to assume that role again…..or……if Lidge falters in that role?

    Or he could possibly be a set-up guy. Cause it sort of sounds like Madson will be out for awhile.

    The guy is nasty, throws with velocity, and sort of has an imposing, closer-like look about him.

    It might be one of the best options the Phils have right now.

    Baez sucks and I agree that he’s best suited for one inning most of the time.

  • Posts: 0 therookie300

    Lidge has been and IS the key to the bullpen. If he is truly back to his effective form then everyone will slot into place. Bullpens need defined roles for success. Right now this bullpen is just a bunch of random pitchers being used at random times.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Madson needs surgery, no timetable for return. Lidge had great stuff last night, haven’t seen his fastball pop like that since 08, and the slider was really breaking down and out (to righties). While I think he could step up to the closer role now, it may make more sense to let him get in game shape as the set-up guy. Contreras would be a decent fill in at closer, as would Durbin.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I think Durbin COULD close…..I just don’t know if it’s wise to have him do it. If Contreras has the stuff for it, just leave Durbin where he is so at least his role is somewhat defined for now. Especially, since he’s been the most consistent one out of the pen so far.

  • [...] And the best part was, Big Joe answered. ¬†After giving up a HR in the second, Blanton locked it up and continued to maintain his steady-as-she-goes mentality that had us miss him so. ¬†When he left after 6.2, there were still some Redbirds on the basepaths, and nobody could have brought them in faster than Nelson Figueroa, a guy who some will tell you was the absolute wrong man for the job. [...]

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I don’t agree with pinch-hitting for Moyer (didn’t even cross my mind at the time), especially since Santana was struggling big time –pretty clear after the Chooch at bat. I sensed magic there and I think Charlie did, too.

    But I DEFINITELY agree with misusing Figueroa last night. The minute he was called from the pen it just seemed like a bad decision. He should be saved for blowouts or spot starts… Personally, I would’ve gone with Herndon in that situation.

  • Posts: 0 Bill

    The Figueroa out of the pen move was bone headed at best. Of course if Ryan Madson could have held his temper we might have had a legitimate set up man to enter the game. Regardless, Admiral Nelson does not belong on a major league roster and it was a terrible move to use him in that situation!


  • Posts: 0 Heather

    I’m not going to quibble with you on the actual events you cite, because I think those specific ones could be open to interpretation, but ON THE WHOLE I think Charlie is not a good manager. A terrible one? Definitely not, but he’s no Joe Maddon either. There’s a reason why the Phillies have won pennants in back to back years and Cholly hasn’t even sniffed manager of the year honors.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    It strikes me as a good situation to call in Scott Eyre actually. I don’t know why they didn’t do that.

    Wait, what???? You’re telling me we wouldn’t pony up a few peanuts to a guy who was one of our best bullpen arms last year and instead let him retire????

    Well I’ll be darned.

  • Posts: 0 Johnny Goodtimes

    “I’m sure I’ll here a lot of complaints for mentioning this.”

    I have no complaints about your astute analysis, but spelling “hear” wrong is cause for complaint. I feel like Charlie and Dubee do this every year: he puts every guy in every situation, sees who works where, and then when we start our inevitable hot streak in mid-summer, everybody will be where they are most comfortable. Until then, though, we’ve got every right to complain, because the road to get to that point does contain some inexplicable moves, such as pitching Durbin on Sunday night for absolutely no reason.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    The Phillies using Durbin with an 11-5 lead.. on a night when the ball is FLYING out of the park . I have no problem with that at all … he’s not our primary setup man, so they used the guy that they thought would do the best job in that situation

    you can’t NOT use guys because you might have to use them in a later game.. you play one game at a time, and you try to win that game.

    which leads directly to Jamie Moyer batting in the 4th..

    Again, the ball was jumping that night.. Moyer should’ve been out of the 1st inning with no runs on the board, but the ball to Castro wasn’t an OUT … and he then had David Wright struckout (but they were called balls).. Wright then hits a HR.

    in the 4th.. Barajas tagged-him (which makes it look bad on paper) but the rest of that inning was two Strikeouts and a ground-out

    If they would’ve pinch-hit for him, you use Francisco in the 4th inning, and you’re into your bullpen for extended periods for no reason.. and with games everyday for the next 10 days.. they didn’t want to burn bullpen arms unless they had to.

    It’s easy to second guess, and we do it so much after losses … which one of you guys is currently working on the article about all the great decisions they’ve made so far, the ones that still have them in 1st place despite Rollins, Polanco, Blanton, Happ, Romero and Lidge all missing time with injury?

  • Posts: 0 Johnny Goodtimes

    Of course I rip you for your spelling and then use poor grammar. Serves me right. Should be “They put every guy in every situation…”

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Im pretty sure that Eyre didn’t retire over PEANUTS …. he said he wanted to spend time with his kids and watch them grow up … and that for a team to bring him back to the majors, instead of spending time with his kids… they would have to overwhelm him with an offer

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I disagree with Heather – if it were all X’s and O’s, Bowa would have 5 or 6 rings by now. I compare Charlie to Joe Torre when he was still alive – a decent strategist, great clubhouse manager, knew his players inside and out, and put them in the best position to succeed. He makes mistakes here and there (and it it ok to call him out on them), but is the perfect manager for the team.

    Of the active managers, Maddon, LaRussa, and Scioscia (I have no idea how to spell his name) are the elite. Just under are Charlie, Leyland, Bobby V (if he was managing), Ozzie, and Cox. They have a few quirks, but are overall very strong.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    @Don M: That’s not what I heard/read about Eyre:

    “Scott Eyre tells MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that he’s retiring after 13 seasons in the majors. The Phillies had offered the lefty a minor league deal, but Eyre, who only wanted to pitch for the Phils, chose retirement instead. Eyre originally asked for $2MM – the same amount he made in 2009 – but now says he’d prefer to spend time with his family.”

    So from that, it sounds like the Phils low-balled him and he said, “F that, I’m retiring.” If I was one of the most succesful pitchers in your bullpen and I asked for a contract identical to the one I already had and the team refused, I’d be pretty upset too.

    So if the Phils had given him a $2 mil major league contract to begin with, I think we’d have Eyre in our bullpen right now.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Eyre had been talking about retirement for a while.. and said back in Spring Training 2009 ….. Here is the other article from MLBTRADERUMORS:

    “In early January, lefty reliever Scott Eyre told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki he was retiring. Eyre, 38 in May, turned down a minor league offer from the Phillies and suggested he still would’ve retired with a bigger offer.

    However, Eyre left the door open when talking to Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. He said his surgically-repaired elbow feels good, and he could be game-ready in about three weeks. Eyre noted that it’d have to be a good situation to compel him to put his family’s planned RV trip on hold.”

    So I originally read that Eyre told -someone?- that the Phillies would have to OVERWHELM him to keep him from retirement.

    I guess they didn’t want to pay $2 M + for a guy that… was thinking about retiring, and may or may not be fully focused… …and they already have JC ROMERO.. and Antonio Bastardo (who at $400,000 can serve the same Lefty-Specialist role) ….. Granted, Bastardo isn’t going to be as good as Eyre right away. it will take some time for him to learn the job. BUT.. the reason we got Eyre in the first place was because he was so ineffective in Chicago in 2007-2008 …

    I liked Eyre, and though he did a great job here.. but fans trying to blame the Phillies for being cheap “Not ponying up a few peanuts” … should try to understand the situation first, and THEN play the blame-game

  • Posts: 0 Sean

    Thanks for this – totally spot on.

    Charlie stuck with Lidge last year – and Lidge had one of the worst seasons as a reliever in the history of baseball. When he doesn’t have a binky – it goes to pot fast.

  • Posts: 0 Gaze_NJ

    I think if the Phillies had offered Eyre $2M in November or December he would have taken it, but given the time to think it over through the winter, he was ready for retirement. I’m not sure you want a pitcher who has retirement on his mind pitching in big spots anyway.

    I believe that Charlie is just testing the waters with what he has to work with this year. By throwing the guys out there that he has to work with and letting them either succeed or fail, he’s passing the buck on to Ruben Amaro Jr. When Nelson Figueroa gives up the bases clearing double, it’s the equivalent of Charlie (Dubee in this case) saying “If you don’t want this to happen, find me some better pitchers.”

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Corey, I rarely if ever read a long winded article but, I have to confess, I read yours twice. And frankly, you do have some pretty good points but please, lets start off with “This is by no means an article bashing the manager.” Really?

    Then you dig back in time and bring up case after case where you believe Cholly screwed up or could have done better and we all feel that way brother! Point you also made is that his good decisions far out weigh the bad ones (for now!) and that is just how it goes.

    Regarding last nights game, Nelson’s meltdown was by far a surprise. Nelson’s first 4 appearances (including his 1 start, which went decently enough) in 12.1 innings he gave up 4 runs – every time he was called on it was for 2 or more innings. He appeared to be a legitimate option but melted. If Nelson had gotten 1 out, would we be having this conversation now or would it have been the next time Cholly made a mistake?

    Corey, this is not the first time this embedded anger has been displayed. Hey, a lot of us stopped listening to the left side of the AM dial for just that reason.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Appreciate the comments, guys.

    Don M – I think you misunderstood the point of this article. The Phillies won the Moyer-Walk game, so it was not “second-guessing after a loss.” If I were simply second guessing decisions after they failed, I would not include a situation that worked out (despite being highly improbable.)

    For everyone talking about sending messages, etc., I agree that pulling a pitcher in the 4th inning of a 5-3 is a rare occurrence, but:

    Does it send the RIGHT message to bat the pitcher with the bases loaded against a perennial Cy Young that you don’t get too many chances to score off? Does it send the RIGHT message to not only let that pitcher bat, but send him out for another inning or two after he’s been absolutely tattooed? He gave up five runs, but that five easily could have been 7 or 8 if Francoeur and Sarge Jr. made contact a split second later, and their majestic foul home runs went fair instead.

    My question to you is: if Adam Wainwright were facing Kendrick/Moyer instead of Hamels, and the Cards were up 5-3 in the 4th inning, and the Phils had the bases loaded with 2 out, would you bat the pitcher again? Knowing he’d just been slapped around, and this is one of the few opportunities you get off Wainwright?

    Would you do it again? And if you would, don’t say “Yea, cuz it worked out last time.” Because I promise you we could play that situation out 100 times and Moyer would walk .05< percent of the time.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck


    In re: Charlie vs. Joe Maddon….

    Charlie has 5 winning seasons as Phillies manager, 3 consecutive NL East titles, 2 straight pennants and a RING..

    I’m fairly positive he’ll take that over any Manager of the Year honors.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Is this Wainwright – post surgery, and still not on the top of his game??

    Or the Cy Young- Wainwright?

    I didn’t say that the Moyer-situation was “second guessing after a loss”. but it seems like the negativity always goes a little overboard after loses, and all of a sudden everyone knows which guys we should-shouldn’t have used.

    In a game where the ball is JUMPING off the bats.. as it was on Sunday. Im glad the Phillies used their best available pitcher to go two strong innings.

    It sucks that he was unavailable for the following game, but they made a decision based upon the game they were trying to win at the moment

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Heather, you are correct about Scott Eyre.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    @Chuck: Comparing managers solely on the basis of win/loss records is disingenuous. The players they are given (by the GM) have far more to do with their W-L records. If you put Joe Maddon or Tony LaRussa as skipper of the Royals, the Royals would still stink. If you put Dusty Baker as the manager of the Yankees, they’d still make the playoffs. That doesn’t make Maddon/LaRussa bad managers or Dusty Baker a great manager.

    My point is just that Cholly is not an “elite” level manager, and the fact is that his peers seem to recognize it.

    Can you provide conclusive proof that Cholly is a great manager well-recognized and respected by his peers other than citing to me a team’s Win/Loss record? If you can, and the evidence is convincing, I am willing to change my stance on this issue.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    MY point is that I really don’t think Charlie Manuel gives one rat’s a$$ about Manager of the Year stuff….or what his peers think…..or being “elite”

    He may not be the best IN-GAME manager out there….BUT….. he’s a great overall leader by UNDERSTANDING HIS PLAYERS. These guys love playing for him and I think that overall relationship he has with them has contributed immensely to the recent success of this team.

    He is “well-recognized and respected” by his PLAYERS…. That is what matters to him…..not what Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox or Joe Torre think.

    Thank God we have someone like Charlie to lead this team.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    It’s going to be a while before the Phils pen will be in thier assigned roles. Figgy is long relief, but the real problem was leaving Blanton in too many batters. He had pitched great, but some of those outs were getting hit really hard.

    Eyre retired to spend time with his kids, not over money. I expect the Phils to make a move to bring him back for the final playoff run.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    @Chuck: Joe Maddon and Tony LaRussa seem to be well recognized and respected by their players. They also make good in-game decisions as well. One doesn’t preclude the other as you seem to be suggesting.

    In an ideal world, I would want a manager that the players respected as well as one that would make great game-time decisions…these are the managers that their peers recognize as “elite” (the Maddons of the world).

    I’m not such a homer that I need to think Charlie is an “elite” manager in order to like the Phillies. I can recognize Charlie for what he is, a decent, but not great, manager.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    There are points I agree with and points I don’t… Hindsight is always 20/20 but it seems like a rather curious decision to trot Durbin out there leading 11-5. That would have been a perfect time to use one of the less dependable arms (and not waste your most consistent reliever)…

    I also cringed when I saw Figueroa… and let me say that watching the game, I felt like Cholly left Blanton in too long. As soon as Stavinoha hit that HR to go ahead 2-1, I would have put Blanton on a short leash (one batter at a time). He wouldn’t have faced Pujols… I know that Pujols didn’t exactly cream the ball but at the time, I thought that it wasn’t a good decision and I still feel that way.

    If Blanton exits with the score 2-1 and a man on base, he feels pretty good about himself. Instead, he’s staring at 4 ER posted to his name and is questioning himself a little bit… and Figueroa… really?? Wouldn’t have been my first choice. Figueroa has done a decent job but I don’t see how you could trust him in that spot. The problem is that the guy that you would trust (Durbin) wasn’t available because they wasted him.

    I didn’t think twice about Moyer batting in the 4th… for one, we need starters to go deep because the pen is not our strength. Second, I don’t think that Moyer had pitched God awful up until that point; guys give up 4-5 runs early on and settle down and although it’s not a quality start, it’s serviceable with a team that can put up 6-7 runs per game. You can’t get desperate in the 4th inning.

    There are people that have strong opinions about Charlie… right or wrong, they are opinions. How anyone could insinuate that Charlie has done a bad job is beyond me. He might not do things the right way but he gets talented players to go out and give it their all and play together every day. Managing players and egos is just as important as managing games. Maybe we drop a game from time to time because he does something based on his ‘gut’ that doesn’t pan out but if that gut decision pays dividends in September (when a player feels confident stepping up in a big spot), I’m ok with it. Larry Bowa couldn’t get these guys to play together and everyone loved Larry. Charlie knows hitting and Charlie knows how to get guys to play hard… a lot of guys know the game and can make all the right calls but it doesn’t matter if the players don’t want to give forth the effort.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Heather, you are looking for something that doesn’t exist, and quite frankly, doesn’t matter. A large part of being a manager is off the field. Fregosi certainly wasn’t elite, but no one else takes that 93 team as far as he did. Like Charlie, the right guy for the group. Joe Torre is not a good field manager, but did a great job of keeping the egos in check, keeping guys focused. While Pinella is the better strategist, I’m not sure the Yanks would have won anything in the 90s with him – the clubhouse would be a war zone. Dusty Baker would have killed his bullpen in 96 – I’m not sure they would have won anything. LaRussa the genius wasn’t even on speaking terms with Rolen. Do you think Rolen would lay it on the line for him? (this may not be a great example, Rolen isn’t the easiest guy to get along with). His A’s team was stacked in the 80′s, and he only came out with 1 world series.
    I like Maddon, and think he is a big reason for the Rays recent success. If I need a guy to do my taxes or win a chess tournament, I’d pick him. But when it comes down to it, the Rays and Phils were pretty equally matched in 08, but Charlie set the mood in the clubhouse, and the Phils crushed the Rays. I’d argue that he had far more impact than Maddon did. Charlie is the right guy for this group, and I don’t think anyone else takes them farther.

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    So, who exactly would be considered an ‘elite’ manager in this day?
    And the definition of elite would be a manager who could go to any team and make them a winner?

    I understand that point, although I still would have given Charlie MOY. Sparky Anderson was considered an elite manager. Earl Weaver only managed one team (albeit extremely well). Williams? Torre has done decently outside of NY but, I think there is significant talent in LA that he should fare better (those damn Phils keep on getting in the way!). Davey Johnson, I don’t understand why he is shunned because he took not only the Mets but the Orioles almost to the promised land.

    So my question remains, who in this day is considered an ‘elite’ manager and did I get that definition correct (he could swap teams and make them a winner)?

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