• July 1, 2022

Should Manuel Have Left Halladay In To Finish The Game?

On Tuesday night, the Phillies let a winnable game slip away, falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2. Arizona trailed 2-1 entering the ninth inning, but rallied to score two runs in the final frame to lift them over the Phillies to take the first game in the series.

Manager Charlie Manuel put all of his faith in starter Roy Halladay’s ability, allowing the right-hander the opportunity to finish the game. It was a decision that didn’t pay off. The ace gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning, and then a two-run double to Lyle Overbay that gave Arizona the lead. After giving up the lead, the Cy-Young Award winner was able to settle down and get out of the rest of the inning, but the damage had been done.

The Phillies had Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson warming up in the bullpen just in case, but Manuel opted to stay with Halladay. “Kind of his game isn’t it? He’s my ace. That’s the way I look at it, if I was going to make a move, I’d have made it to start the inning”, said Manuel after the game.

Manuel was right to give Halladay the opportunity to finish the game, there’s no question about that. Before the ninth inning, the ace had only thrown 100 pitches, and allowed just one run on five hits. But after allowing a pair of hits to begin the ninth inning, there should have been much stronger consideration to make a change to either Bastardo or Madson.

Yes, Halladay certainly has the credentials to justify leaving him in the game anyway, but the reality is that he isn’t invincible. He isn’t truly “a machine” as many describe him. He’s human, and is capable of wearing down and tiring out like any other pitcher.

Manuel would not have left Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels in the game if they had gotten into that kind of trouble to start a ninth inning. He shouldn’t give Halladay special consideration, simply because of the right-hander’s name and reputation. If a pitcher looks tired, and not up to the level he had been at throughout the game, the manager should make a move that gives the team the best chance to win.

With a pair of more than capable closers available and well-rested, would it not have been such a ridiculous alternative to go to Bastardo (who has proven to be an excellent strikeout pitcher) to face the lefthander Overbay (who had already gotten to Halladay for an RBI earlier in the game), and then Madson? There isn’t any way of knowing whether or not the two closers could have come in and successfully cleaned up the mess, but it may have been worth a shot.

Manuel has a reputation for being loyal to his players. If a player has his confidence, Manuel is going to sink or swim with that player. It’s easy to second guess that manager when the decision that he thought gave the team the best chance to win didn’t pan out. Sometimes the manager looks like a genius, and sometimes not so much. In the big picture, this was a game with very little impact on the season, and only stands out temporarily because of the questionable decision’s that took place during it. While a case can be made for removing Halladay from the game, a case could certainly be made to leave him in as well. The Phillies’ skipper decided to remain loyal to his ace, and even though it didn’t work out, if he could do it all over again, he would not have done a single thing differently. Love it, hate it, question it, it’s the style of managing that has led Manuel to becoming one of the most successful managers in franchise history.

Denny Basens

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15 Comments

  • the manuel bashers, eskin et. al, will be all over charlie for this one, but this decision, and the reason behind it, are what makes charlie beloved by his players and in the true sense a great manager, as pointed out, it was not a critical game, charlie showed doc he has all the confidence in him, and it will pay dividends down the road when it really matters

  • Of course he should have left him in. Its his horse, he rode it! if a reliever comes in and blows the game he would have gotten crucified and rightfully so!

  • cataldi was un-listenable to this morning on 610…I don’t know why I even turn the station on most mornings.

    Yeah, knowing how it turned out…Charlie should have at least put Bastardo in against the lefty…but he has the ultimate confidence in Doc. He had pitched well in the 8th, and at 100 pitches, every reason to continue with him. He had (2) strikes on that first batter and got squeezed and didn’t get the call, next thing you know there are (2) hits and then the bunt. Yeah, you can second guess, but in the end this team has won 78 games this year, I think he has earned a little slack.

  • It’s the first time in over 2 years that Doc has blown a lead in the 9th..
    It’s was an anomaly,a freak occurrance. Let it go and come out today and beat the Diamondbacks..

  • Perhaps not, in answer to the question, but we can’t expect the team to win every game: this is impossible…I thought Charlie answered the question well in the post-game conference…The Diamondbacks are a good young team, they’re hot right now, and I would say a split of this series can be expected…At least we get a feel for our possible opponent in the playoffs…Halladay pitched a fine game, he just gave up a couple of hits at the wrong time…Give credit to the other team in this case.

  • NO…. he should have taken him out…. its not the loss that bothers me, its the over use of the starters that Charlie needs to pay attention to…. we need their arms for the playoffs and do not need another Hamels dead arm issue to hurt the team… Charlie needs to limit these guys to 110 pitches MAX

  • Why would he take halladay out yesterday when he hasn’t all year long? Why change it now? If that dumb as bark Cataldi were the manager and went out there to take Roy out of the game he’d have gotten his face chewed off. Even a stud like Halladay is gonna let one get away, rare though it may be. Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee have forgotten more about how to win games than Cataldi will ever know.

  • OMG- you would second guess the best manager in phils history. my guess is he knows a bit more than you- if he had taken him out and the relievers blown the lead you 1972 would be all over him for that. See you can always be 100% right when you are a second guesser!

  • Cataldi, Eskin… they’re idiots. They are fortunate that they’re in a profession that allows and even promotes idiots. Any other profession that requires at least a modicum of intellect and integrity = they’re out the door. In reality they represent about the dumbest Philly sports fan you could dredge up off the street. The only reason people listen to them at all is because we’re such sports fanatics and will tune in even if we’re being fed garbage commentary.

  • It is easy to second guess the coach after the fact. I was there, he looked strong. Charlie did the right thing.

    Those other guys simply try to get ratings. Knuckleheads.

  • Wow, I agree with Paulman. World be careful.

  • @bmcc, correct, they have an audience only because the fan base can’t get enough, same reasons why dozens waste time, productivity at work checking in, posting on gcobb reading ridiculous postings from paulman

  • jake: I won’t take that personally. I’m an independent IT consultant and put my hours in diligently but get to choose those hours. Besides even if I worked in a cubicle it would feel good to log in and trash Philly sports radio. We deserve much better, especially in this era of ascendant Phillies and Eagles.

  • Guys, few more spots left for the fantasy football league. Send me an email astuckey05 at gmail .com. Draft is next week.

  • I wouldn’t have brought him out in the ninth for the same reason that jot1972 raised but, I won’t fault Charlie either. They play well for him and this is one of the reasons why. That been said, I do think Charlie needs to shorten the pitch count on his starters now that we’re in the bottom half of August and planning to play deep in to October…

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