Found April 20, 2012 on Buzz On Broad:

As many of you will find out, I’m not the type of writer that will continue to berate players, management or ownership about a single point. I believe that if I’ve aired it once, that’s enough. I am also not your prototypical Philadelphia fan. I don’t get too worried about things until the pressure is completely on our teams. For example, the Penguins handed the Flyers an embarrassing 10-3 loss Wednesday night, in which many people stated their fear of losing the series in 7 games. My response, “I’ll worry about it if they lose Sunday”. After the Phillies dropped 2 out of 3 to the Pirates to start the year, I claimed “It’s April 9th”. If you continue to read my posts, you will find that I try to examine the bright spots in most situations. (Take the good with the bad).

With all this being said, I’m not writing this post to harp on Charlie Manuel. This man brought this city to the Promised Land. He did what no coach or manager had been able to do since 1983. He gave every fan in this city what they wanted needed the most. A World Championship. That season however, all Manuel really had to do was put out a lineup every day, and the hitters would hit. That year, in the National League, the Phils finished first in homers (214), second in runs scored (799), 3rd in OPS (.770), 2nd in Slugging (.438) and 3rd in Total Bases (2412). We know those numbers are a thing of the past, and Charlie will have to do a much better job of analyzing every situation in game in order to get any runs he can.

We know Manuel to be a percentage guy. He will burn a pinch hitter if it means getting the pitching matchup he wants for his hitter. It was extremely surprising he decided to leave Jim Thome to hit in the 11th in after Bruce Bochy went to his left hander, Lopez, out of the pen. Thome struck out leaving Carlos Ruiz at third. Being that Charlie is a percentage guy, it was surprising that he left Thome to face Lopez, and not use Mayberry or even Polanco, either of which could have at least flew out for a sac fly and score Ruiz. Then he brought in Mayberry and Bochy went to his right hander Clay Hensley, and Carlos Ruiz was continued to just stand on third NOT looking so happy, man.

These are the kind of mistakes Charlie will have to avoid. I think we all understand that he was probably trying to “save some bats” for the 12th, 13th, and 14th innings (or however long the game goes), but the game was for the taking in the 11th. I have never been a huge fan of that philosophy. If you have to burn a few hitters to get the right matchups, do it.

Both Matt Cain and Cliff Lee were dealing that night and 1 run could’ve made all the difference, as you then have to assume with a 1-run lead, he would’ve given the ball to Papelbon for the save in the 11th. Instead the Phillies left San Fran scoring 5 runs (which was a nice output behind Halladay), 2 runs, and 0 runs in three games and starting the West Coast trip 1-2.

Thursday, Vance Worley recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts en route to a 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres. The bats were quite silent again as a sac fly and a pass ball scored the game’s only two runs(in the first and ninth innings). Because of Worley’s dominant performance (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 11 K) and Qualls setting up Papelbon for a perfect 8th and 9th, the Phillies got the win. However, should Worley have given up a run or two, it would have been a completely different game and Charlie would’ve had to put his managing cap on.

UP NEXT

The Phillies enter the weekend starting off 2-2 on their West Coast swing. Tonight against the Padres Cole Hamels goes for the Fightins’ and has pitched well against San Diego. Only Cameron Maybin has a respectable batting average off him, hitting .316 in 19 AB’s. It would be nice to see some run support for Hamels as right hander Edison Volquez still is attempting to secure his first win with the Padres. In his last outing,  Volquez had trouble getting command of anything, walking 5 batters and allowing 4 runs on 6 hits. Hopefully if he continues with his command troubles, the Phillies can be patient at the plate and walk themselves into a few runs.

On Saturday,we finally get an early game on this road trip as Roy Halladay faces the left hander Corey Luebke. Luebke is coming of a win vs. the Rockies in which he allowed 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings. In his career he hasn’t faced the Phillies that much, coming out of the pen twice (3 hits and 3 K’s in 3 IP) and having only 1 start against them (5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 K) all in 2011. Halladay is 3-0 against San Diego with a sub-2 ERA and 29 K’s in 23.2 IP.

Sunday’s Phils-Padres finale will feature Joe Blanton vs. Anthony Bass. Bass has never started against the Phillies and has only faced Ty Wigginton, who is 0 for 3 against him. He’s also in search of his first win of the year. In his last start, Bass struck out 7 Rockies, but still managed to give up 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. Blanton should also fear Cameron Maybin who is at a .438 clip against him. He hasn’t pitched bad at PETCO park in his career, but he also hasn’t pitched great. Hopefully the offense can bail him out against a young pitcher searching for that elusive first win officially in a starting rotation.

Following this series the Phils head to the desert to face the Arizona Diamondbacks, thought by many (including me) to be the NL West Champions this season. More on that series coming Monday.

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