"We are lucky to be 9-12 considering the way we have been playing to start the season." That quote is from Bill Giles (who many still consider the face Phillies front office, good or bad) this morning on 610 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi morning show. Is Bill right? I say yes. I also found it interesting that Bill did not give manager Charlie Manuel the obligatory, "he’s doing a good job the players just need to play" answer when Angelo asked him what he thought of the job of Charlie Manuel. Instead, and I will paraphrase here, he said that Charlie (like the team) needs to do a better job to improve our record. While Bill is really just a VIP fan these days I believe he still gets his two cents in when necessary. Needless to say he did not sound satisfied with the performance of the Phillies so far this young season.
This leads me to what seems to be my weekly critique of Charlie Manuel and his managerial decisions. Allow me to go back to the third game of the series against the Rockies. The Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the eighth up by two. Obviously, Charlie started to warm up Flash Gordon for the save. Well the first two men got on in that inning. Charlie decided to then start warming up Cormier in case the save opportunity was erased by the Phillies scoring more runs. As we all know the Phillies went on to score twice to give themselves a four run lead going into the ninth. What decision does Charlie make? Of course he brings in Gordon, whom need I remind you has had major elbow surgery, has been used a lot in such an early part of the season, and is not exactly a spring chicken anymore. To add to all of that the Phillies and Rockies were playing a day game the next day. By bringing Gordon in up four runs Charlie effectively made Tom unavailable if a save situation came up the next day (which unfortunately it did not). I know there is the argument that once a pitcher has warmed up that it is like he has already pitched an inning so why not bring him in anyway. I disagree with that line of thought 100%. If warming up is like pitching one inning then letting him pitch is like pitching two. I really hate this move and Charlie always does it. For those of you who say we need to take Floyd out of the rotation and give Franklin a chance I laugh at you. Who would be Charlie’s precious 7th inning guy. We all know it’s hard enough for Charlie to manage right now, could you imagine if he lost his formula of 7th inning guy, eighth inning guy, closer. The things he could do then…I do not even want to think about it.
I would like to close this week’s edition with just a few comments and questions for you all to ponder. Since the lineup change, the Phillies have been scoring a lot of runs. They also seem to be hitting better with runners in scoring position. What no one seems to have mentioned though is that they are scoring these runs without the help of their leadoff batter. Jimmy Rollins is in a big funk. His average is down below .300 and the offense can be even more explosive if Rollins gets back on track. There was talk of the Marlins calling the Mets to see if they would do a Dontrelle Willis for David Wright straight up trade. I compare David Wright for the Mets to Ryan Howard for the Phils in that they are both home grown talent who seem to be the future face of their respective ball clubs. My question then is would you trade Ryan Howard for Dontrelle Willis straight up? Finally, has anyone else noticed that all the Phillies starters seem to run out of after five innings? Who do you blame? I blame Rich Dubee and his off-season training program because it seemed last year that all the pitchers got stronger as the year went on.
That’s the story from the City Line for now.