Tag:Charlie Manuel
Posted on: October 13, 2009 12:33 am
 

Colorado's Street with no name

DENVER -- It was about as difficult a way to lose as there is.

Colorado scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth Monday to take a two-run lead, 49,940 purple-clad fans were ready for the ride to continue and closer Huston Street moved the club to within one strike of sending this NL Division Series back to Philadelphia.

And then blam, blam, blam.

Chase Utley drew a two-out walk on a full-count pitch, Ryan Howard followed with a game-tying double and Jayson Werth followed that with a base hit that scored what would be the winning run.

Manager Jim Tracy removed Street in favor of Joe Beimel at that point, but it was too late.

"I'm in shock, really," Street said after the 5-4 loss in the library-quiet Rockies clubhouse. "I tried to focus as much as I could on every pitch."

But he still couldn't stop the game from unraveling on him.

"I was out there fighting as hard as I could fight," continued Street, who was tagged with two losses and a blown save in the series. "Sometimes you get beat."

Across the way, Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who has been there all too often himself this year, took a moment out from the champagne shower to sympathize.

"Huston Street has no reason to hang his head," Lidge said. "Maybe he gets it done against another team."

From the beginning, the Rockies knew that Philadelphia and all of their left-handed starters was going to be a difficult matchup. Really, the Rockies matched up far better with St. Louis. Though they were careful with their words publicly, many privately were hoping that the Cardinals played their way into a first-round seeding against Colorado.

But it didn't happen. And just when the Rockies thought they were ready to roll, their season came crashing down around them.

"To have the game in your hands and then have them drop three [runs] on you," said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who struck out with two on and two out to end the game in the ninth. "We had an opportunity at the end. That's all you can ask for."

"I'm proud of every one of these guys, no doubt about it," Colorado first baseman Todd Helton said. "[Manager Jim Tracy] was talking about guys being unselfish, and there's no doubt about it.

"We do have good guys. The guys here care."

Likes: Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, the projected Game 1 starter in the NLCS and the would-have-been Game 5 starter had the Phillies-Rockies series gone that far, never made it to Colorado. His wife delivered their first baby, a boy named Caleb, last week and Hamels stayed put, preparing for Tuesday's Game 5 start if it was needed. "We would have sent him back home yesterday anyway," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ... Colorado manager Jim Tracy is right. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is going to be a big-time star one day. ... Sam's No. 3, a terrific breakfast joint downtown Denver. "So good it'll make ya wanna slap yo momma" says the marquee outside. And I've gotta say, as I was eating my Denver omelet Monday morning -- what else are you going to order in Denver? -- I was glad my momma wasn't with me, because the food was as advertised. ... In case you missed it when the season ended two Sunday's ago, Hal McCoy's sign-off column was exceptionally eloquent. The Hall of Famer is done as a beat writer, and reading this column, you can see why he lasted 37 years covering the Reds, one of the great runs of our time.

Dislikes: The Astros are interviewing 10 men as prospective managers. Ten? That's paralysis by analysis. If it takes a team that many interviews, then that team really isn't sure what it's looking for. Good luck, Houston fans. ... OK, I get it. Playoff ratings are up on television. Great. Now TBS and MLB, will you quit bombarding everybody with non-stop updates boasting about that fact? And if TBS doesn't pick up its camera angles, replays and certain broadcasters, the ratings won't remain up. And I'm not watching the George Lopez Show just on principle. Just as I wouldn't watch Frank TV, or whatever it was called, last year.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
"And she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her
"And the box-office is drooling, and the bar stools are on fire
"And the newspapers were fooling, and the ash-trays have retired
"'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
"The piano has been drinking, not me, not me"

-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

Posted on: October 11, 2009 9:09 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2009 9:12 pm
 

Game 3 in Denver: Game on, ear muffs required

DENVER -- It's 35 degrees here roughly 80 minutes before first pitch, the Rockies are finished taking batting practice, the Phillies are hitting now ... and no snowmen have been sighted.

What we're going to get here tonight is the coldest Division Series game in history. Current record holder: Game 2 of the 1999 AL Division Series, when it was 48 degrees at game time in New York for the Rangers and Yankees.

Tonight, that record will be shattered.

Still, it's a heck of a sight better than it was on Saturday night, when it was in the 20s with the wind howling.

"We couldn't have played in that wind," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.

Had they, it would have been ugly.

There is no wind tonight. The flags at Coors Field are hanging, not flapping.

As for the effects, Tracy says he thinks the most difficult thing during Game 3 tonight will be for fielders to get a grip on -- and a feel for -- the ball.

Philadelphia skipper Charlie Manuel thinks the most difficult thing will be for the pitchers to get the feel of the ball on their breaking pitches.

Incidentally, the coldest game-time temperature in history for a Rockies game came in 1997, when it was 28 degrees for a Rockies-Expos game on April 12.

Oh, and one more thing: Aside from that Rangers-Yankees game that is about to get toppled from the record book, the only other two Division Series games to start in temperatures less than 50 degrees were Game 1 of that Yankees-Rangers game in '99, when it was 49 degrees at first pitch, and Game 1 of the '99 ALDS in '99 in Cleveland, when it was 49 degrees at first pitch between the Indians and Red Sox.

Likes: We've seen some wretched umpiring already this fall, and it should be far better than this, but if you can take a breath and stop screaming and hollering for a minute, this piece from the Newark Star-Ledger on umpire Phil Cuzzi is very well done and gives a glimpse into that agony a guy goes through after he blows a call.

Posted on: July 13, 2009 9:58 pm
 

Why not use the DH for all All-Star Games?

ST. LOUIS -- Here's the crazy thing about the designated hitter rule: Even for those who don't like it, the one time it absolutely makes all the sense in the world is during the All-Star Game when it is played in a National League park.

Yet when the first pitch is thrown in the 80th All-Star Game on Tuesday, NL rules will be in effect and the pitchers will be listed in the order.

"I agree," American League manager Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay told me Monday when we were discussing the subject. "If you get late in the game or into extra innings and you're running out of pitchers, you've got to let them bat."

Or, say somebody scores seven or eight first-inning runs on Tuesday night. Then AL starter Roy Halladay or NL starter Tim Lincecum will bat.

"That, too," Maddon said. "It makes sense to use the DH in an All-Star Game in an NL city."

DH aside, the NL rules will make it doubly challenging for Maddon and his NL counterpart, Charlie Manuel, as they balance the line between trying to play as many players as they can with winning home-field advantage for this fall's World Series.

"An American League game, you can pretty much choreograph the game before it begins and have an understanding of who you can get in," Maddon says. "Being it's a National League game, it's going to represent a bunch of different problems. As the game is in progress, you go from theory and reality hits you in the face.

"From my perspective, again, I want to get as many guys in the game as possible. But, however, as the game is tied and it's late, you have to keep some contingency plans in the back. Not only pitching-wise, but position player-wise, because you don't want pitchers to have to hit later in the game."

The NL's Manuel said that he'll rely a lot on his coaches, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, because "it's going to be a lot of movement in the game, more movement than I've ever had to do."

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 18, 2009 2:17 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 2:28 pm
 

Charlie Manuel and his piece of history

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Remember all the controversy over what happened to the baseball from the final out of Boston's historic World Series win over St. Louis in 2004? When first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz went home with the ball and the Red Sox kicked up a fuss about wanting it back?

No such bickering from the gracious and generous Philadelphia Phillies.

Closer Brad Lidge and catcher Carlos Ruiz combined on the final out, Lidge throwing strike three past Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske.

Then they presented it to manager Charlie Manuel.

"Carlos and I were talking about what we were going to do with the ball," Lidge says. "Carlos was gracious all year, giving me the last-out ball from all of my saves."

This time, he didn't. And the duo's decision was unanimous.

And any regrets from Lidge four months later?

"No, Charlie deserves it," he says.

The baseball, however, still remains in an undisclosed location.

"I've got it. Don't worry about it," Manuel says, chuckling. "I've got it."

Where?

"I don't want to make a big deal out of it like Mientkiewicz."

Why? Is the manager afraid someone might take it from him?

"No," he says, chuckling. "They can't find it."

Likes: I don't blame Tampa Bay one bit for holding pitcher Scott Kazmir out of the World Baseball Classic this spring. Sorry, but if I'm a club exec and I have even one iota of concern about a player, I everything I can to keep him out of the WBC. ... Love a couple of New York tabloid headlines today in the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez press conference. From the New York Daily News: "Now Try Truth Serum." And from the New York Post: "We're With Stupid."

Dislikes: Are we all sick and tired of watching the 1,000th clip of the Alex Rodriguez press conference? We are? Let's all ignore it from here on out. Yeah, right, like that'll ever happen.

Sunblock Day: Yes, nice warm sun, but it's windy in Florida today, and the wind is carrying a bit of a chill. It's supposed to rain in these parts Thursday and drop the temps down to a high of 60 on Friday. Brrrr.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The lazy way they turned your head
"Into a rest stop for the dead
"And did it all in gold and blue and gray
"The efforts to allay your dread
"In spite of all you knew and said
"Were hard to see and harder still to say"

-- TV On The Radio, Halfway Home

 

Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:18 pm
 

Phillies: Less weight, and Hamels for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- You wouldn't know it by looking at their wallets -- Philadelphia's team payroll has ballooned to $131.5 million for 2009 -- but the world champion Phillies are lighter on their feet this spring.

Almost as soon as the Phillies' pitchers and catchers stepped onto the field here for their first workout, it was noticeable. Starter Brett Myers is significantly lighter from last year. Reliever Scott Eyre has dropped probably 10 pounds. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched at three different levels in the minors last year, has lost weight as he prepares to battle for a spot in 2009.

And hard at work scooping up ground balls on a different field, first baseman Ryan Howard, in early, has dropped 20 pounds, to 250 from 270.

"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we showed up in good shape."

Of course, it's one thing to show up in good shape and another to stay there, figuratively speaking, and the Phillies are about to find that out. No team since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees has repeated as World Series winners. The Phillies return nearly their entire team from '08, and Manuel thinks they have every chance to be even better. He told them as much, too, during his season-opening speech before they took the field.

"It was about winning and winning again," Manuel said. "I told them that's behind us. If you're thinking about yesterday, you're not doing nothing to win again."

Manuel estimated that the speech lasted 10 or 15 minutes.

"I was trying to find an ending," he said. "I finally asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'Do I need to say anything else? And he said, 'No, Chuck, you covered it.'"

It's way too early to make any definitive assumptions, but the fact that several Phillies have reported in good shape certainly bodes well. Myers, for example, is coming off of a tough season in which he was shipped back to the minors for a time before the All-Star break. He finished 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts and helped redeem the year with his postseason work, but he still comes in with much to prove in '09.

To Manuel, Myers losing weight "means he's been thinking about the season and getting ready for it."

"He finished (last) season strong, which was really great for him," Manuel said. "Also, knowing him, he's definitely thinking about how he'll pitch this whole season. And this is the last year on his deal, and I think he's thinking about another good deal ... and staying with the Phillies."

Manuel was in midseason form already after the workout:

-- On how he views himself as a speechmaker: "Sometimes when I speak at banquets I can get on a good roll and be funny. I never have my speeches (prepared). Today's wasn't very prepared. Usually, when I do prepare it, I'll look down and I can't find where I'm at, so I have to start making it up."

-- On whether he's ready to name ace Cole Hamels as his opening day starter: "You might as well go ahead and pencil him in. There's no sense in me bulls----ing."

Oh, and no word whether the manager lost weight over the winter.

"I don't talk about the manager," Dubee said. "I like my job."

Cracked Manuel: "That's smart."

Likes: Good line from new Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just after the Phillies took the field for the first time this spring, while they were stretching in the outfield. No, it wasn't when he said that it was "like Groundhog's Day." It came when someone asked him how the Phillies were looking this spring. "They're really stretching," he quipped. "They're lifting their legs well." ... Another terrific episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The scripts, the acting ... what a great show. Coach Taylor's character is especially strong, from the way he's in charge on the football field to the way he's a little befuddled at home sometimes by his wife and daughter. Hmm, maybe I can relate. ... Gran Torino. Another really enjoyable Clint Eastwood flick. ... The way David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix last week. What a dope Phoenix is. Make sure to check out the YouTube clip if you missed it. ... Daily reports from spring camps. Ah, happy new year.

Dislikes: Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Uhlaender, the former major-league outfielder and longtime coach who most recently was working as a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Uhlaender died of a heart attack on Thursday after battling cancer -- multiple myeloma -- for a couple of years. Uhlaender was a first-class guy who, among other things, was extremely proud of his daughter, Katie, who is an Olympian in the skeleton. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was exceptionally close to Uhlaender from their days together in the Minnesota organization in the 1960s, so much so that Manuel added Uhlaender to his coaching staff when Manuel managed in Cleveland a few years ago. Saturday, Manuel recalled how Uhlaender was in Double-A ball when Manuel signed professionally, and how they stayed in the same barracks in Melbourne, Fla., during spring training. "I was with him a long time," Manuel said. "I used to go fishing with him, go eat dinner with him, and we'd have cocktails together. He was a good friend." The two were so close that Manuel is considering attending Wednesday's memorial service in Colorado, though that's the day of the Phillies' first full-squad workout.

Sunblock day? Nice and warm, but very overcast much of the day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"There's a train leaving nightly called 'when all is said and done'
"Keep me in your heart for awhile "

-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me In Your Heart

 

 

Rants:

Posted on: October 29, 2008 6:12 pm
 

Madson to "start" for Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the most unusual game in World Series history is set to resume at 8:37 p.m. this evening, with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay tied 2-2, and the most fascinating thing of all is that the tactical moves will begin immediately.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said just before batting practice Wednesday that Ryan Madson will "start" for Philadelphia. The first Phillies pitcher will take the mound in the top of the seventh inning.

Before that, Manuel is expected to pinch-hit for pitcher Cole Hamels, whose spot in the order is up first when the game resumes in the bottom of the sixth.

Reliever Grant Balfour is in the game for the Rays, and the big question will be whether Rays manager Joe Maddon will immediately go with left-hander David Price or allow Balfour to face what is expected to be a left-handed pinch-hitter for Hamels -- likely Geoff Jenkins, possibly Matt Stairs or Greg Dobbs.

If Maddon does go to Price, the danger is this: The pitcher's spot in the lineup is up fourth when Tampa Bay hits in the top of the seventh. With the Rays only getting three at-bats and the Phillies four (barring extra innings), Tampa Bay can ill afford to give up an out.

Another option, of course, if Maddon elects to start Price is to double-switch right out of the gate.

"I think we're going to find out real early," Manuel said of the Price question. "He came in against us in Florida, of course, and he went through our left-handed hitters twice, ... I figure that, evidently, they gained confidence in him there.

"And I think we're going to see him."

Tampa Bay's Maddon declined to divulge whether he will stay with Balfour or switch pitchers immediately. He also declined to say whether he would even have another pitcher warming up when the game resumes, so stay tuned.

In addition to Price, the Rays will have starter Andy Sonnanstine available.

"David threw about 40-some pitches his last time out," Maddon said. "He has not pitched as a starter in awhile. I'm a little concerned about how many pitches he can throw. I would say, comfortably, 50 to 60 would be within my mental range.

"Andy, I have to check with him but I believe he's going to be fine. I've already had Hick (pitching coach Jim Hickey) start that conversation with him, but I have not heard back yet. But I would say Andy is good for the same number."

As for Manuel's decision to start with Madson, even though it surely will be an odd feeling for the right-hander to be pitching so early and right off the bat, the manager said he thinks it will be fine.

"He's got experience and, a couple of years ago, he was a starter," Manuel said. "He's been throwing the ball real good. I think from a mindset (perspective), he also knows that we've just got actually three innings of baseball for our bullpen to pitch."

Never before has a World Series game been suspended like this. There have been 40 postponements in World Series history, 29 because of rain, one because of cold (1903) and the 10-day postponement following the San Francisco earthquake in 1989.

The weather here in Philadelphia is cold and windy. Game-time temperatures are expected to be somewhere between 42 and 44 degrees, with a wind chill in the 20s.

Posted on: October 25, 2008 7:41 pm
 

No wholesale lineup changes for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- After considering splitting lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the lineup so that the Phillies wouldn't be so susceptible to left-handed relievers in the late innings, manager Charlie Manuel decided to leave his lineup mostly intact for Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Utley remains in the three hole and Howard is hitting cleanup.

"I thought about maybe switching Howard and Utley, but when I go back to it, if you look at their production against left-handed pitchers, they're as high as anyone on our team.

"Jayson Werth has 16 homers, he's got good numbers against lefties. But Utley and Howard, they've got numbers that go against lefties, and I didn't see no reason why to bust them up."

Against left-handed pitchers this year, Utley hit 13 homers and had 33 RBI. Howard had 14 homers and 49 RBI.

The one move Manuel did make -- and it's been part of his regular lineup rotation all year -- is move right fielder Jayson Werth into the second slot and drop Shane Victorino to sixth. Also, Pedro Feliz is playing third base instead of Greg Dobbs.

Manuel is hoping that this will bring the desired results to the Phillies lineup. They are 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position in this series (.036), and their overall postseason hasn't been much better. In three series so far -- against the Cubs in the divisional series, Dodgers in the NLCS and the Rays -- the Phillies are 18-for-102 (.176) with runners in scoring position.

Meantime, at 7:37 EDT here, the tarp remains on the field, a steady rain is falling and a warm wind is blowing hard. Still, the latest I'm hearing is that baseball officials think the worst of it will be past by 8 and they're hoping to get the game in after a short delay.

Posted on: October 24, 2008 2:49 am
 

Phillies don't get any breaks

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When you strand 11 runners and go 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, as Philadelphia did dropping Game 2 of the World Series to Tampa Bay on Thursday -- the final was 4-2 -- you pretty much deserve whatever fate befalls you.

But before this series heads north to Philadelphia, a quick moment here to say that Charlie Manuel's club got no breaks on Thursday.

Specifically, there were two moments involving plate umpire Kerwin Danley that could have -- should have -- gone Philadelphia's way. Neither did.

The first came in the second inning and cost the Phillies a run. With one out and a runner on first, Phillies starter Brett Myers worked a full count on Rocco Baldelli before unleashing a pitch that sure looked to be in the strike zone -- and it appeared as if, on a check swing, Baldelli went too far.

Danley raised his right arm as if to signal strike three ... then, after hesitating, pointed to first base. Ball four, and Dioner Navarro to second. He scored from there two batters later, on B.J. Upton's single.

Manuel hollered from the dugout and eventually came out to discuss the issue with Danley. From the mound, Myers hollered something else and was visibly angry. He thought it was strike three.

"He swung, for one," Myers said. "And two, I thought the pitch caught some of the plate.

"I can't understand why he didn't call it a strike. He had his hand up. ... He definitely called him out. It cost me a run. But you've got to keep pitching."

Said Manuel: "I thought he called the guy out. But he said he was pointing like that, he pointed to go to first base. But to me, when he brought his hand up, I thought he called the guy out."

The second bad break for the Phillies came in the ninth as they were trying to fight back from a 4-1 defecit.

After catcher Carlos Ruiz led off with a double, rookie David Price came inside with a pitch to shortstop Jimmy Rollins -- far enough inside that television replays showed it clearly grazed Rollins' jersey.

The shortstop pleaded his case, but Danley would not rule it a hit-by-pitch. So instead of two on, none out and the beginnings of a rally against Price, Ruiz remained at second with one out.

"He couldn’t hear it," Rollins said. "With 46,000 people screaming in your ear, it's probably tough to hear."

Rollins then added philosophically, "That's the beauty of sports. Sometimes you get a call, and sometimes you don't."

Rollins came away happy he wasn't injured on the play.

"I'm fortunate it didn't hit the bottom of my rib cage," he said. "That's where it was headed. The first thing I felt was relief. But it did get my jersey."

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com