Charlie Manuel Is the New Grady Little with Pedro Martinez

91847725JR074_Philadelphia_Grady Little has been crucified by miserable Red Sox fans for keeping Pedro Martinez in a playoff game too long. Charlie Manuel is now drawing the ire of miserable Phillies fans for pulling Pedro too early in a playoff game. Oddly enough, I’ve been on the opposite side of the 20/20 hindsighters both times. I went down with Grady using his reasoning — Pedro’s the best guy Boston had and there wasn’t another pitcher I’d rather see in there with the game on the line. Sox fans were only so bitter because blowing the lead encapsulated 85 years of losing to New York. Exactly six years later Charlie Manuel pulled Pedro from a two-hit shutout against the Dodgers and went to the bullpen. The Phils blew the 1-0 lead and now people are now criticizing Manuel the same way they did Little, but I support his decision.

Pedro hadn’t pitched since September 30th prior to Friday’s outing against the Dodgers. The Phillies should have just been thanking their lucky Liberty Bells they got such a strong start out of a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game in almost three weeks. Secondly, Pedro was coming up to bat in the 8th and there was a man on in what was only a one-run game. Don’t you want to give your team a good chance at padding the lead with a pinch hitter? Additionally, Pedro hurt himself swinging against the Braves a month ago. Do you really want to see him injure himself again? Lastly, Chase Utley makes a routine throw on a double-play ball and we’re probably not even talking about this issue (we’re probably talking about a blown save in the 9th).

At the same time that we’re crediting Pedro for a stellar start we also have to credit Nicaragua’s own Vicente Padilla for a strong start. He kept the Dodgers in the game by allowing just the one run, making the comeback easier. I back Charlie on this one and Pedro does too.

Photo Credit

Will Charlie Manuel’s Second Thoughts Burn the Phillies?

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The extra day off in the Phillies/Rockies series gave pitcher J.A. Happ an extra day to recover from being hit by a comebacker and likewise an extra day for Charlie Manuel to contemplate his starter. In the end, Manuel decided to go with Happ over Pedro Martinez because he prefers to have a lefty pitch against the Rockies lineup and because the conditions aren’t ideal in Denver. Game 3 was postponed Saturday because of ice and snow on the field, not to mention temperatures in the teens — a record low for the day. That brings up another point — why the heck is baseball being played outdoors in Denver in October? Just another reason to shorten the regular season.

Pedro Martinez seems to be cool with the decision that bumped him from what would be his first start in 10 days. He’s said he would like to get some work in before attempting to start a big game, but still, I’d rather take my chances with Pedro over Happ, not to say that Happ can’t get the job done. Manuel seems to really be set on going with a lefty considering Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez, and Brad Hawpe’s stats all are worse against southpaw pitchers. Even with that being the case, they still scored enough runs to beat Cole Hamels meaning just throwing a lefty out there doesn’t equate to a win. Maybe the better question than who will the Phillies start is when will they play? Outdoor baseball in cold climates in October is always a bad idea.

Charlie Manuel Wants Fans to Toughen Up on the Phillies

It’s like some sort of Twilight Zone in Philly. Philly fans have carved out a reputation as some of the least-forgiving in the country, being notoriously known for booing Santa Claus. But with the Phillies pulling in a World Series title last year, the fans have much less about which they should be bitter. Much less. And apparently that is becoming a problem for manager Charlie Manuel who’s unhappy with the team’s 9-14 home record:

“I notice sometimes if fans are near our dugout and talking to our players, they always want to talk about last year, and that’s good; I want them to keep coming to the games,” Manuel said. “But I want the fans to start telling them they want to win this year, too. Of course they love us and everything, but maybe they should get on them a little bit.”

This reminds me all too much of the Rachel Phelps line from Major League: “Maybe the problem is we’re coddling these guys too much, yeah.” It’s like Manuel’s living in some sort of alternate universe here dealing with Philly fans actually being happy. Now I’m not sure if it’s the fans who are responsible for the effect, but the Phils could just be falling victim to the trend of complacency that inflicts championship teams; it’s really hard to repeat as champions because players don’t always work as hard the following year once they’ve reached the top. You could point to the team’s excellent road record to negate that argument, which I guess would come back to Manuel’s comments. Who knows, maybe there is something to what he’s saying.

(via Sports by Brooks)

The Phillies Are a Sad Story

First manager Charlie Manuel challenges radio talk show host Howard Eskin to a fight, then Brett Myers gets moved to the bullpen, and now it appears as if last year’s NL MVP, Ryan Howard, might be hurt.

Let me put aside the obvious problems with Manuel losing his emotional cool and getting outraged at a radio talk show host. The team decided that they could get better use from their best starter of the past few years, even if he’s an alleged wife beater, out of the bullpen, where he won’t even be the closer as long as Tom Gordon’s healthy. Right, because 65 innings out of your top pitcher is much more valuable to the club then 200 innings. I see.

Now, forget about the fact that Ryan Howard has been in a slump since Spring Training. We all know that Ryan Howard is capable of blasting 58 home runs in a season, all the while carrying a club to the playoff doorstep. So when news comes out that he’ll need an MRI, it doesn’t bode well for the club. And check out the comments from Shane Victorino following Wednesday night’s loss to the Nationals (5-10 Nationals!)

“Everything is bitter around here … Sometimes you’d rather just walk out there and lose by 15 and walk off the field in the ninth. It’s so frustrating. We’re one hit away, we’re one pitch away. It seems like we’re one thing away from doing what we need to do, and it’s just not falling into place.”

Everything is bitter around here — such is the sports world in Philly — so I’m told. Look, the Phillies aren’t 3-10 bad. They really aren’t that bad in general. But they’re certainly not a playoff team, especially with Myers in the bullpen, and Ryan Howard on the DL. Still, one last time, how can you move your best starter to the bullpen and expect to get better? What kind of sense does that make?

(thanks to The 700 Level for the pic)

UPDATE: Must see DC Sports Bog for more Manuel madness.