Another pedestrian Cliff Lee start, egregious tactical mistakes and a bullpen that can't be taken seriously were top of mind with Beerleaguers following the Phillies' miserable Sunday.
"Today was just really poor managing by Cholly. First game and the managing in the bottom of the 8th was just a series of poor moves compounded by pinch running with Pierre and letting Mini-Mart hit for himself. Second game was much less egregious but still don't understand why Mini-Mart started only to get pulled in the 4th for Fontenot and why he let a rookie like BJ Rosenberg dangle and fail in a spot like that. Two steps forward, three steps back. That has been this entire month. Been a month of generally ugly Phils' baseball with some really crummy pitching (starters/bullpen) and shoddy defense." - MG
"I cannot stand another season with the buffoon Manuel at the helm. I go way back to when he first got to Philly and well before the five-year run of success as one who believes that he knows next to nothing about both in-game strategy and how to handle pitchers. All he knows about is three-run homers going back to his days with the Indians and the hey-day of the Phillies' run. That takes no tactical acumen. Just get the right players and dial it up. He is an embarrassment who has had the good fortune to inherit a group of very good players. Now, with everything falling apart, he has become one of the team's biggest detriments." - mainerob
Beerleaguer: It's difficult to pinpoint the exact issue with Lee. He's rated among the league leaders in strikeouts the last couple of seasons, yet he's never been overpowering and isn't an especially tough assignment for a left-handed hitter. Unlike Roy Halladay, who throws a heavier ball, when Lee misses he tends to miss big. He's still missing bats, and his stuff looks okay: I guess he's been a little unlucky with balls and strikes and walks have come back to bite him; he's walking a batter more per nine than he did two seasons ago.
But I wouldn't use these as excuses. He's had leads and failed to keep them. Opponents are hitting .293 against him over his last seven starts, a span of a 5.10 ERA. That's pretty bad.
Turning to Manuel, I warned readers before the season the dangers of having a flexible roster with a lot of moving parts. Sunday proved that it was too much for Manuel to handle. Still, as much as these games were bungled - and I count the Thome/Pierre/Martinez decision among the most glaring in Manuel's career - the players are the ones who aren't executing, from Antonio Bastardo to Lee to Rosenberg to an offense that continues to squander opportunities on a nightly basis. This isn't a contending team as currently constructed, particularly in the 'pen.