After Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel talked a big game last October about the Phillies lineup having a better approach – more patience – in 2012, the early returns – very early, with, like, half a lineup – have not been much different than what we became accustomed to late last season. Again, spring training, but Charlie doesn't seem to care. Here's what he told reporters after a 1-0 loss and a 4-4 tie this weekend: [CSN Philly]
“We’re still looking at some of these guys… We want to see what some of them can do. Even the ones we had high interest in. This ain’t no 'gimme' BS. When we talk about winning, we want to put the best team possible on the field. Play good defense and execute for our pitching staff so when we get in one-run games we can win them."
“You’ve got to show you can play baseball the right way.”
Perhaps he's talking about the once-pesky Juan Pierre…
When Manuel spoke with jolly Scott Palmer and Phillies.com, he was a bit more specific in his criticism:
"When we got guys, our bench players, our small guys. They’re utility players. When we put them up in a big league game in a situation where they got to bunt the runner in scoring position, or move him over from first to second, second to third, settin’ games up for us, especially ones where we’re a run down in the latter part of the game, or tied, those are big. And that’s how you play the game. And you know what, Palm, I’ll be straight up honest with you, we definitely need to work on our bunting. I’m not going to accept like guys who supposedly definitely know how to bunt, you know like not being able to do that. That’s a big fundamental."
Yep, he’s talking about Juan Pierre (and others). Pierre has struggled this spring and couldn't get a sac bunt down yesterday.
Charlie's early frustration is nothing new, though. As beatless reporter David Murphy points out, there’s a day every spring when Charlie gets mad at the offense. So this is the norm. But now, with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard out, Charlie’s just looking for a decent bunt. My how far we’ve come.
Video of Manuel speaking with Phillies.com is after the jump.