Manuel's take on 'good baseball'

October, 31, 2009
10/31/09
3:06
PM ET
I'm not allowed to take shots at broadcasters. But apparently Charlie Manuel operates under no such structure. Behold!
    Phillies manager Charlie Manuel took a veiled shot at Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver on Friday when Manuel was asked again about his decision not to send the two runners on base with one out in the eighth inning of Game 2, when Chase Utley grounded into a 4-6-3 double play against Mariano Rivera.

    --snip--

    "I didn't even have to think about that," Manuel said of not sending the runners on the full-count pitch. "That's bad baseball if Utley strikes out and Rollins gets thrown out at third base. We've got one of the best hitters in baseball standing on deck (Ryan Howard). That's our game standing right there in front of us.

    "We've got only five outs left in the game, we've got our biggest offensive threat standing at the plate. There's no way we could afford to make a mistake there. I'll do that as long as I live."

At the time, I wasn't sure who was right about this. But there are really only two relevant numbers here:
  • Chase Utley grounded into five double plays this season.
  • Chase Utley struck out 110 times this season.

Given those two numbers, can you even remotely argue that the runners should have been moving?

Only if both runners -- in this case, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino -- have exceptionally high chances of stealing safely if Utley strikes out. Actually, not even then. Oh, and have I mentioned that Mariano Rivera has struck out roughly a third of the batters he faced this season?

Manuel can come across as a bit of a bumpkin sometimes, and I certainly haven't agreed with every move he's made this October, or that matter last October. But the man's not a fool. Not often, anyway. And starting the runners in this situation would have been terribly foolish.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)

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