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Is Charlie Manuel Responsible For The Bad Start?

Charlie Manuel has won the the Philadelpia area its first major professional sports championship in over 25 years. Manuel’s teams have allowed him to set the record for most regular season wins by the Philadelphia Phillies in team history.

He has won more games than any manager in the 129 year history of the Fightins. With such an accomplished track record, could Manuel be largely responsible for the Phillies anemic start?  No one will ever confuse Manuel as one of the great baseball strategists. He makes glaringly obvious managerial mistakes and through all his glory, has never been recognized as a manager of the year.

In fact, through all his accolades,he has never been heralded for by winning on strategy. In his own words, he describes his successful moves with such phrases as “having a hunch” and “a gut feeling”. For the most part, he gets credit for sticking with struggling players and showing confidence in them when they are struggling.

In essence, he gets credit for being a good people person and supportive.  So what?  It can be legitimately argued that for all his glory and managing the best era of Phillies baseball, he has actually underachieved. Two years in a row, he managed a team with the best record in baseball and did not get to a World Series either year- let alone win it.

In the 2010 playoffs, he was grossly outmanaged by Bruce Bochy and in last year’s playoffs was outmanaged by Tony LaRussa. Last year, the self-proclaimed hitting guru, was unable to manufacture even one run, in a game 5, at home.

Speaking of last year, it was also Manuel who decided to play his starters in the season series finale against the Braves. The Braves needed to only win to get into the playoffs or force a playoff with the St. Louis Cardinals for the wildcard spot in the National League.

Manuel played his starters and the Phillies swept the Braves and St. Louis was in the playoffs. The rest, as they say, is history. Worth noting was that the victory in the last game of the season made Manuel the all-time winningest manager in Phillies history.

Chris Lowe once said, “Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way”. It will also get you eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

It is 2012 now and 16 games in and Charlie Manuel seems to resume where he left off last year. One example would be in the opening series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of the series. With the team holding a lead, and wunderkin closer Jonathon Papelbon in his bullpen to deploy, Manuel opted not to use him to get the final out in the 8th inning and then pitch the 9th inning. As a result, the bullpen blew the lead and the Phillies lost the game.

Asked why he did not use his high salaried star closer, one of the excuses given was it was only April and not necessary for such a “drastic” move in April. The very next game in the home opener at Citizens Bank Park, Manuel used Papelbon in the 9th inning of a game the Phillies were losing by several runs.

Fast forward to the series in San Francisco. With it being “only April”, Manuel found it prudent to use Cliff Lee for 10 innings in a regular season game, in April. The results, while short of disastrous but not by much, led to the Phils losing that game and worse, Lee injuring himself in the 10th inning and being placed on the disabled list.

Speaking of that game, Manuel’s “genius” was at work again. The Phillies manager cost Lee a possible win even though the left-hander pitched brilliantly. Carlos Ruiz led off the top of the 11th with a double and was sacrificed to third by Freddy Galvis. Manuel then sent Jim Thome to hit for Lee. The decision might have been a bit peculiar given Thome’s struggles to start the season but the guy does have over 600 home runs in his career. So the decision to send Thome up to pinch-hit wasn’t completely baffling-what followed was.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy replaced Romo with left-hander Javier Lopez, seemingly giving Manuel the advantage. All Manuel, who usually is a fiend when it comes to righty/lefty matchups, had to do was call back Thome and replace him with either Polanco or John Mayberry Jr., both right-handed bats. Instead, Manuel let the left-handed hitting Thome hit off Lopez, who he was 2-for-11 against lifetime. Thome struck out. Then Manuel hit Mayberry for the left-handed hitting Juan Pierre.

In case you haven’t heard Mayberry has not been hitting well and Pierre hits lefties well. Bochy replaced him with a right-hander in Clay Hensley, who forced Mayberry to ground out to end the inning. So instead of having a one-run lead and being able to go to closer Jonathan Papelbon in the 11th, Manuel brought in Antonio Bastardo, who gave up the game-winning run.  Bochy outmanaging Manuel.

What is the saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”?  In 16 games this season, those are just two examples of Manuel costing his team two victories. 2 out of 16 games translates to 12% of the games. That percentage over a 162 games translates to 20 games. These moves are in addition to the hitting guru managing a team that cannot hit! Things that make you go, hmm.

There was much ballyhooing about the Phillies change in approach at the plate coming into this season but it seems more like you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. And so far, if anything, the old dog is getting worse! While baseball is a long tedious season and if anything was learned from last year it is more about how the team is playing in the end then at the beginning, poor starts have haunted and cost Manuel’s teams in the past.

While Manuel is not at the plate playing the game, he has had zero impact on the players ability to hit well and it has been that way for the past couple seasons. Milt Thompson was fired as hitting coach and replaced by Greg Gross yet the same problems, even with different personnel, continue to plague this team.  There is only one holdover. He is the hitting guru. He is Charlie Manuel.

 

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Posted by on Apr 23 2012. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Coaches, News, Phillies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

28 Comments for “Is Charlie Manuel Responsible For The Bad Start?”

  1. He is not fault, I blame more on GM Amaro for putting tgether an older,fading roster of new players to go with the oler fading players they already have..
    This past Off-Season, I was pumped when knowing that Oswalt,Ibanez and Lidge;s big Salaries were coming off the board which should have allowed to Phils to Address 3B & LF with quality younger players who have upside
    Instead they overpad for Papelbon, Bring back sentimental favorite Jim Thome whoc can’t play a position in the field, Then T Wigginton, L Nix and re-sign B Schneider and J Pierre and S Psednik to Camp.. What is this the Richy Ashburn Baseball Camp Team.. This Phillie Team/Organization has had the same Core or Players for the last 5-6 Seasons and with 150-200 players down in the in the Minor League System, you mean to tell me they haven’t been able to develop a OG/3B or Catch during this time..
    Horrible Roster management, Wasted $$$ on a Closer instead of getting 2 Bats (especially knowing the Howard injury and the possibility of Utley being injured again like he’s been the last coupld of seasons
    Phils has theStarting Staff to win many games if you can give them 4-5 Runs again, but no Staff is going to win too often scoring 2.68 Runs a Game which the Phils have averaged over the first 16 games..

  2. I think Charlie is an average manager, certainly nothing special. I also think their biggest issue is lack of production at the plate. It’s funny to think that we were worried about Polanco’s glove when they brought him back, but we assumed his hitting would make up for it. His fielding has been fantastic, but he can’t hit anymore. Besides Juan Pierre, this years free agency class appears to be awful.

    This teams window appears to be closing fast. There are no players on this roster that I see as “up-and-coming”, most of them are over the hill or coming down the other side.

  3. 3 consistent Players on this Roster you can count on for Productivity as far as Career States go, that’s Victorino, Pence and Catcher Ruiz.. the Problem is the other 5 Positions will most likely have players performing below their career stats or simply not generate the tpye of Productive Stats that their competitors are able to generate..
    Most teams can survive with light hitting CF,SS and Catchers since they generate the Power #’s from 1B,3B and the corner OF spots..
    This Phillie Ultra Lite Team has very limited productions from 1B, 3B and LF and 2B Galvis is holding his own, but is way behind most 2B Production #’s like Brandon Phillips, Dan Uggla, Richie Weeks, R Cano, D Pedroia that the other good teams have…
    This Roster is filled with part-time bench players like Nix,Wigginton,Mayberry, Schneider and Thoma who should never be in the NL and with a DH for an AL Club or retired.. Now Pierre is a nice story with his level of play, but when you add a slap hitter to an line-up that already has JRo,Victorino,and Nowe Galvis, where’s the production and big hits going to come from… It’s sad to see but this has been in motion for 2 years now and has finalyl caught up the Phils.. Small Ball is not in Manager’s Manuel’s cards, he has never managed that way and won’t start at his age…

  4. Not Charlie’s fault. Reuben has his work cut out for him because he/they knew this roster was aging quickly and needed to get some offensive talent in here. Personally, not so sure Howard will be much help anymore even if he comes back 100% healthy. Neither one of those who think this team will be remotely competitive to even qualify for wild card in playoffs. Unless Reuben pulls 2 BIG rabbits out of hat, Phillies will finish at or near bottom in NL East. If they’re basically out of it by AllStar break, time to trade almost anyone by trade deadline to get high draft picks or diamonds in minors ready for move up. Have to bite the bullet sometime and might as well be sooner than later.

  5. There are times when some of players drive me crazy with their approach at the plate. Swinging at bad pitches and not taking pitches when necessary. Swinging for the fences when all they need is a base hit and it goes on and on. I love Charlie but he’s partly to blame for the players not doing the right thing at critical times of the game

  6. This is the worst collapse from 1st to Last that I can recall in some time at the MLB Level… Talk about a lack of Energy, Focus and just overall Amatuer level
    Baseball being played on a nightly basis . I could see if this Team was full of Freddy Galvis’s and rebuilding with young players needing experience and the growing pains that are associated with it, but this is brutal to watch.. and you guys can call me a hater all you want, but I am a long-time Phillie fan and to see this demise happen when most observors knew that this was the off-season to start bringing in some young,new blood and energy to this Franchise and instead we get this lame effort .. I guess the Front Office will worry and do something about it when the Sellouts come to end.. I am embarrased to be a Phillie Fan

  7. i wouldn’t say it’s charlie’s “fault”, but he is certainly not a part of the solution. i have never, ever seen him out manage anybody. he is severely lacking in baseball tactician skills. the other problem is, he is so laid back, always sticking with guys who are struggling, especially if they are veterans. he needs to be in these guys ear EVERY SINGLE DAY about the terrible pitches they swing at EVERY SINGLE GAME. it’s pathetic. if he is talking to them about it, they sure as hell aren’t listening.

    the other issue is, this is probably going to be the last year we can keep Ryne Sandburg in AAA. if this team doesn’t make and win a playoff series at the very minimum, they ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO fire Manual and hire Sandburg. he has done a fantastic job at Lehigh Valley, with absolute crap of a lineup, and very mediocre starting pitching even for AAA. that team plays hard, and they play smart. they have very little talent, and he gets the best out of them. he will get a major league manager’s job very soon, and this organization will once again regret letting him get away.

    with all that said, Ruben has done a piss poor job for years. he made trades that any jackass could make with the farm system we had, and gave contracts that only jackasses would give. this system has nothing close to contributing as a position player except Dom Brown, who Amaro screwed up by yo-yo-ing him around. he is obsessed with pitching, and has ignored the lineup year after year. he constantly talks about getting younger, and all they ever do is get older. it’s asinine.

  8. All of the blame lands right at the feet of the so-called Golden boy Ruben Amaro. He did an absolutely, anemic, pathetic, piss poor job, putting together & planning this teams roster. There was absolutely ZERO reason to give Paplebon the contract he did, when Heath Bell wanted to come here, & would have been A LOT cheaper & just as reliable. He made a big mistake resigning Rollins. The Howard contract was a monumental mistake. Knowing that his team was declining & aging after the WS win, he did nothing to infuse any young talented position players. He replaced Burrell with an even older declining player in Ibanez, to an asinine contract. He brought in an even older declining 3b in Polanco, on the cheap, when he could have Beltre. Instead of keeping Lee the 1st time, in which he could of had him cheaper then, they traded him, when they got Halladay. And used BS excuses of needing prospects. Really!? Where are those replenished prospects. BUMS! He knew going into the season that Howard was going to give us virtually nothing this year & he knew Utley had a degenerative knee that is possibly career ending, & made a piss poor, puzzling together of the roster with career back-ups, utility guys, who are also ancient, are butchers in the field & are powerless, SO machines. With the $$$ he wasted on Papelbon, Rollins, Nix & Wigginton, he could/ should have signed Aramis Ramirez, Heath Bell & Michael Cuddyer & went with the kid at SS. They still would of had $$$ for Nix & Thome to come off of the bench, not start all of these f^#ing games. With the inevitable Utley mess, they could have easily slid Polanco to 2b, & had Mayberry in LF & 1B. They are going to have an almost insurmountable job, getting this team back to a good team, let alone a WS Champion. I don’t give a $#!t if you have 5 HOF starting pitchers. You can’t expect to win consistently, with your line-up scoring 2 or less runs a game, hitting singles, have ZERO power, are SO machines, & are butchers in the field. It pains my heart to say, this team is Ancient, injury prone/ plagued, in major decline, they lack sufficient knowledge/ skill at the plate, have no foreseeable alternatives, or salary wiggle room, & a GM, that has done a BAD JOB. Plain & simple. There is no excuse for having the 2nd highest payroll in MLB, & be this bad. It’s a disgrace & embarrassment. None of those moves were hindsight either. Amaro knew the asking prices for all, but decided to put together this BS bunch of rag tag, bunch of utility players, past their primes. NAUSEATING!!! There is ZERO debate!!

  9. BTW, Lee could be out for a month+ & Pence is day to day with a shoulder injury. WS here we come. Heads will be rolling SOON! I’m going to say, the same thing I said for the 76ers 3 years ago, “Blow it up NOW!!”

  10. This Team will not make the Playoffs in 2012,
    The window is not closing, the Window is bricked up with mortar already set and dry.. I can’t recall a team dropping so far, so fast from being legitimate WS Contendors to Chumps in my life as a Sports FAn.. Where’s the outrage.. too many thaink that the Phils experience will bring them back, to stay the course and the Phillie big 3 WIll bring them back…
    I believe the Phillies have already lost about 5 Series so far this year (Pirates,Mets,Giants, Padres & now the Diamondback) does anyone know how deep into the Season last year they went before dropping 5 Series.. The Real scary thing is that they haven’t even playen the good Teams yet.. (Cardinals,Nationals,Braves,Dodgers..) A “Mid-Summers Dream is about to turn into the Summe-lLong Nightmare… Phils have a lot of tough decisions to make and need to consider all options moving forward with this Roster

  11. Outrage, sorry paulman, nothing better than a cold one at the bank in the alley, looking up at the championship flags, the most recent of which won by the core players on this team, the 3 and 4 hitters are out, philliies are hitting the ball, just not driving it, that will change and paulman will fade in to the obscurity of just another old, wasted pundit wanna be, but only tallest midget on idiot board of gcobb

  12. Keep drinking the Phillie Kool-Aid Jake,
    This Team stinks… Phils have known since last Octobver that they would be without their #4 Hitter and should have also been on top of Utley’s situation alot more by January at the latest.. Utley did the same thing last year and will attempt to do the same next year, he will not have surgery for he knows it willbe the end of his carrer, so he will play 75-100 games at max for the rest of his carrer with little lower body strength and torque to drive the ball and be limited in his mobility in the field.. (If you recall, I have stated this for about 2 years now) so that lack of action to replace these players production in the line-up falls on the shoulders of GM Amaro who has built this Roster with a group of older,nice fellows whose best baseball skills are a few years behind them, meanwhile the rest of the Teams in the NL and especially the NL East make moves to improve and have surpassed the Phils in terms of Talent, Energy and an overall sense of urgency while the Phils keep thinking what might has been…
    Phils have played 6 Series so far and split with Miami and then have lost the next 5 Series and have only played against 2 Winning Teams so far..

  13. “Instead they overpad for Papelbon, Bring back sentimental favorite Jim Thome whoc can’t play a position in the field, Then T Wigginton, L Nix and re-sign B Schneider and J Pierre and S Psednik to Camp.. What is this the Richy Ashburn Baseball Camp Team.. This Phillie Team/ Organization has had the same Core or Players for the last 5-6 Seasons and with 150-200 players down in the in the Minor League System, you mean to tell me they haven’t been able to develop a OG/3B or Catch during this time..”

    Yes, and obviously salary cap problems come into play & Amaro thought band aids could fix larger wounds.

    But instead of retreads, better to dig into farm system…Ryne Sandberg time nearing anyway.

  14. I would fire Manuel after this evenings Game and name Sandberg as new Manager,
    I would release Polanco & Thome and then call upDomonic Brown and stick him out in LF and see what he does over the next 2 months playing everyday.. Play Mayberry at 1B until Howard Returns, PLay Wigginton at 3B and then see how the Team is situated by the Trading Deadline/All-Star Break..
    If they are out of the Race (which is hard to believe with an extra Wild-CArd Team this year) then blow it up and make some major deals, If a chance to get healthy and still close, then maybe ride it out, and start planning on major moves for next Off-Season which is what should have been done this past off-season.. AMrao wasted a year with a Starting Trio of Halladay,Lee & Hamels and gave them little support from the Offense.. His plan has backfired.. Scoring 2.68 Runs a game is not going to win you 75 games and I don’t care who you have on your PItching Staff.. plus this is about the worst Defensive Team the Phils have had since the mid/late 90’s..

  15. lets just say, if Manuel was fired tomorrow, he would never get a manager’s job again in MLB…….poor GM moves this off-season and mediocre coaching gets you the basement in the NL East.

  16. @paulman – agree 150% on the first post. Amaro ignored the holes and assumed Utley and Howard would be back…. shame on him… he went into the season with bandaids all over the field.

  17. it’s going to get worse people…..Hamels, Victorino and Pence need to either be resigned or get new deals within the year…. there is no signs of offense in AA or AAA that will contribute anytime soon….

  18. It was a great nice run for th Phils, since the mid-2000’s, they played with the passion, energy and never say day attitude. It rivals the CLubs from the Mid-70’s when a bunch of mostly home grown kids grew up in front of our eyes as a baseball team.. All Good Things Come to an End and it’s now time to start thinking about the next group of players to make that Run…
    It just pisses me off that over the last 5-6 Years, the Phils couldn’t develop at least a few up and coming prospects in the OF or IF… Unbelievable

  19. Why don’t we drape c b p with black bunting and cancel the season, paulman has declared the run is over

  20. These are my favorite articles. Let’s blame every loss on Charlie and never give him any credit when they win. Any number of hall of fame managers would have the same result with this starting lineup. Is he responsible for Rollin’s slump, Polly, Mayberry giving you nothing, Utley/Howard’s injuries, Pence trying to do too much. Is he responsible for 1-2 pitch at bats? He can try to coach them and tell them what to do, but the players have to produce. Does he deserve some of the blame? Sure, but it is too effin trendy to blame everything on Charlie.

    I don’t know what is going to happen the rest of the way, but I am not counting on Utley or Howard at all. If they start to falter, then I am looking to make some deals and Lee is the chip to land some prospects if Amaro doesn’t blow that again. Phillip GD Aumont. He should have gotten Morrow in that deal. And Brown should be up in the bigs too. Journeymen are not going to solve the problem.

  21. “Amaro wasted a year with a Starting Trio of Halladay,Lee & Hamels and gave them little support from the Offense…”

    I have a feeling a big move could involve Hamels who is probably my favorite Phil.

    Utley clearly doesn’t want anyone cutting on his knees…Having worked in an orthopedic ward, I don’t blame him.

    I don’t think Charlie will be fired in season, however.

  22. Are you people REALLY ready to cancel the season in April? LMFAO. Silly rabbits.

    I’ll come back to worrying about the Phils in June.

  23. BoB – you have to ask that? Hell – half the people are ready to canx the football season in April!

  24. And with the 1st Selection in the 2013 NFL Draft
    The Philadelphia Eagle Select QB Matt Barkely of USC…

  25. Paul, LMFBO!!!! Now that I think about it, that’s not funny.

  26. Dominique Brown has set this franchise back 3 years. He was the one who was suppose to already be up here are producing. He was the 5 tool young stud who was suppose to be hitting 35 HR at the Bank. He has absolutley killed this franchise with his monumental failures. He cant hit and cant track a fly ball. What level did he ever excel? Thank Dom Brown for this mess.

  27. I don’t Blame D Brown at all, it was not his fault that he was hyped up and throw in before he was ready.. I stated 2 Off-Seasons agao that he needed a full 400-500 at Bats at the minor league level and expecially needed work on his defense, his positioing.. I don’t recall ever seeing an Outfielder at the Major League Level pick-up the ball off the bat as poorly as Brown does.. If I can see this as a fan, what are the Team Evaluators, Coaches and Front O ffice seeing.. D Browns flop is more of a mark against the Phils Farm System and COaches and GM Amaro in my opinion than on him…

  28. Dom brown was a showcase talent, but never a hitter, his swing is too long and loopy, effective against amateur and low level, organizational pitching, but not major league pitching, he will never be a 30 40 hr guy no matter how long he is in the minors, I don’t believe he has a nock this year, look for the phils to have another strong season, paulman in obscurity, angry,grinch who can’t keep the titles from coming

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