In a rare show of fire – only slightly reminiscent of Larry Bowa – Charlie Manuel lashed out the other day in what I think was a positive way. He wants to make it known that he’s no old time rocking chair manager, he’s ready for the playoff push.
“I’m not here to hurt anybody’s feelings, but at the same time, we’re trying to get to the playoffs. I don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. People call me ‘Uncle Charlie’ and ‘Good Time Charlie’ and ‘Happy-Go-Lucky Charlie’ and all that BS. You can take that to ram it up your [butt]. I’m here to win games.”
Oh yea, Charlie, that’s what I’m talking about! This is no doubt in response to his blossoming platoon system at catcher and first base. This would of course complement the Lofton-Michaels platoon which has worked effectively in center. Now, we here at PhilliesNation have been a proponent a three platoons roster ever since the days of the ’93 Phillies. Ironically enough I said hello to Jim Fregosi the other night at the game. That Benedict Arnold is now a senior scout for the Braves.
Manuel will, however, have some trouble in the less publicized platoon of starting pitching now that Lidle hurt himself. He swung through a pitch last night and strained his left oblique – directly contributing to an inning-ending out as he hobbled down the line to beat out a grounder. His replacement in the following inning, Robinson Tejeda, will most likely take Lidle’s upcoming start on Tuesday in New York.
Billy Wagner continued his dominance last night as he converted his 31st save in 33 tries. Apparently all the contract talk has not gotten to him. Now that the Phils are still in the playoff hunt, I think we might see Wagner retreat from his hard-line stance on the August 31st contract extension deadline. Though the Cubs and Red Sox are beating down his door, Wagner’s agent claims the deadline is not set in stone. The Phils have shown good faith by keeping negotiations open and they have been progressing. Wagner is a veteran with playoff experience, I have a feeling contract talk may linger a bit as he bears down these final weeks.
In that same vein, I would like to see Wagner use this opportunity to take on a leadership role in the clubhouse. Always vocal and direct, Wagner understands how you can’t just limp into the playoffs. Between the youth of this team and lack of playoff experience in the organization general, someone like Wags needs to step up. This would certainly make his 3 year, $24 million asking price worth it. The Phils need to get hot and this flamethrower should be the guy to ignite them.