How Charlie Manuel (and Larry Bowa) Helped Seal the Deal in Game 2

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Prior to Game 2, Charlie Manuel tweaked the batting order by switching Chase Utley and Placido Polanco in the lineup.  In the 7th inning, it paid off.

Roy Oswalt, who continued the trend of Phillies pitchers hitting in the playoffs (see Myers, Blanton, Lee, Halladay), singled to start the bottom of the seventh.  He was bunted over to second by Shane Victorino (one out). 

With right-hander Ramon Martinez on the mound, Bruce Bochy elected to intentionally walk Utley (first and second, one out).  Polanco then singled off Martinez, allowing Oswalt to score on the now infamous missed stop sign (one run in, still first and second, one out).

Jeremy Affeldt then came in to face Ryan Howard and struck him out (first and second, two outs).

Stop right there.

Had Manuel not switched Polanco and Utley in the batting order, forcing the Giants to walk Utley, the inning may very well have been over.  If Polanco was batting in the second spot, he likely still would have faced Martinez and still would have singled in Oswalt.  But then Affeldt would have been brought in to face Utley and Howard.  You don’t know what would have happened had he faced Utley (3 for 8 in 11 PAs against him), but he wouldn’t have been intentionally walked.  In those eight at-bats against Affeldt, Utley has struck out three times.  The odds still say that Affeldt gets Utley out then strikes out Howard.  Inning over.

Instead, Utley was given a pass to allow Martinez to stay in the game and face Polanco.  Howard’s strike out was only the second out.  Jayson Werth was then intentionally walked and Affeldt was replaced with Santiago Casilla (RHP).  This allowed Rollins to bat left-handed, even though he was struggling to push-off his injured right hamstring from the right side.

Rollins hit a three-run double, with an assist from Larry Bowa, and the Phils never looked back.

All of that because Manuel made one small lineup change.  Some fans and writers called for him to flip Howard and Werth in the lineup instead of Polanco and Utley.  You can never know how that would have played out, but the most likely scenario is that Affeldt comes into the game to face Utley, and then either walks Werth to get to Howard or is replaced with a righty to matchup with Werth.  Either way, Utley is never given a free pass and Rollins may never even come to the plate.

These were all insurance runs, but a 3-1 game is very different than a 6-1 game.  i.e.- we see Lidge instead of Madson. Perhaps more importantly, Manuel's move allowed Rollins to snap out of his funk.

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8 Responses

  1. Nice post.
    I was a bit puzzled by the move at first, but then it was just like, hey, what we’re doing isn’t working that well. You have to switch it up in that position so we can stop relying on unearned runs and get some real production out there.
    I really hope Rollins is back. It was only one game, but Rollins being the real Rollins is only good for the team.
    Was anyone else caught flatfooted when they saw Chase Utley going to bunt?

  2. What Jimmy Rollins were you watching this year if you think he batted even remotely good left handed? The Jimmy I watched was .218 left handed and .297 right handed.

  3. Of course it’s early to say, but I hope Jimmy does have his swagger and mojo back. Even after Raul smoked the 3rd out to Sandoval, the camera at the stadium zoomed on Jimmy who give a subtle smile and fist pump to himself. He saw that ball right out of the pitcher’s hand, so hopefully he’ll see the ball a little better going forward and barrel it like he did last night.

  4. ynaffit- thanks, i corrected the post. the point iw as trying to make was that rollins was slightly injured on the right hammy and is probably better served batting from the left side right now

  5. Good points. I also think the double steal that gets Utley and Polanco to second and third and sets up the intentional walk to Werth only happens if Utley’s the lead runner.

  6. I really think that Utley was DEEKING the dodgers! Getting it in their heads that he just MIGHT be bunting!

  7. However they do it they need to avoid Utley and Howard hitting back to back for lefty relief pitchers the last 3 innings of the game.
    Yeah I know Ruth and Gehrig hit back to back too, but lefty relief specialists didn’t exist in 1930.

  8. all phillies fans out there gotta check out a game created by their own hometown fans. its called bleacher league baseball and can be played on blblive.com. its easy to sign up and its free. the game is all about making predictions on what you think will happen which everyone does anyway, so why not incorporate it into a game? go check it out and give it a shot

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