Offense Absent Like Manual’s Strategic Thinking in Doc’s 200th Win

Roy “Doc” Halladay won his 200th career game today in a 2 – 1 victory over the Miami Marlins. That’s good news for Phillies’ fans. More good news is that Phillies pitchers gave up a total of four runs in the three-game series, which the Phils took two games to one. Now for the bad news. They scored a total of six runs in the three games. The Phils can get away with averaging two runs per game in a series against a Triple-A team like the Marlins, especially when its star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is out of the lineup due to injury. If the Phils continue to average two runs per game against teams with good pitching, they will be in for a rude awakening.

To many Phillies fans, the lack of offense doesn’t really come as a surprise. In 2009, the Phils averaged 5.06 runs per game. That number has dropped ever since: 4.77 runs per game in 2010, 4.40 in 2011, 4.22 in 2012, to 4.18 through 12 games in 2013. The cause for the decline in run production is the same as it’s always been with this team: age, injury, and poor managing.

Back on February 11th, I wrote this in a post about how Phillies’ manager Charlie Manual needs to do a better job of strategizing during the game:

A manager needs to be held accountable for not only setting the lineup cards before each game, but knowing what personnel are available … In my opinion, Phillies manager Charlie Manual has been given a pass way too often by the local media for mismanaging a game.

Based on what I saw in today’s game, Charlie Manual still has the baseball IQ of a batting glove.

Phillies scorecard from April 14, 2013Here was the situation: The sixth batter in the Phillies lineup, Domonic Brown, fouled out to third base to lead off the top of the second inning of a scoreless game. Marlins scorecard from April 14, 2013The next hitter was John Mayberry Jr. who reached safely on an infield single. So the eighth batter, Humberto Quintero, is up with one out and one on. Coming into the game, Quintero was 1-for-6 on the young season with a career on-base percentage of .266. What that means is, throughout his career and so far this season, he’s not likely to reach base safely. No worries, in Charlie Manual’s mind, that just means he’s due for a hit. With that flawed thinking, he decides to play hit-and-run with John Mayberry Jr. He’s stolen some bases for the Phils before right? Well not exactly. He was successful in his only stolen-base attempt in 2012. Again, that’s all Charlie needs to hear. He did it once, he can do it again. That’s the second part of his flawed thinking. If the batter swings and misses in this particular situation, that’s strike three, and if the catcher has a decent arm, he’ll throw a less-experienced base stealer out at second. The lingo for this is a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play. Then you have your pitcher leading off the following inning. Any manager with common sense knows that is a situation to avoid, if possible. There are exceptions but many pitchers in Major League Baseball, like Halladay, are considered automatic outs.

So Quintero worked the count full, 3 – 2, and guess what happened. I’m attaching the scorecards to this post so you can see for yourself what happened.

It took great pitching by a once-great pitcher to beat a young and hungry Marlins club today. But the Phillies’ bats must wake up from their slumber soon. I figure if the Phillies can either hit a home run or make an out in every at-bat, that will solve two problems: more runs and less base runners leads to fewer confusing hit-and-run situations for Charlie Manual to think through. And that my friends, in a nutshell, explains the reasoning behind Manual’s all-or-nothing, swing-for-the-fences mentality.

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