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Tag:Charlie Manuel
Posted on: October 23, 2008 12:01 am
 

Phillies take Game 1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The first World Series game in Tampa Bay franchise history, and wouldn't it figure that in the majors' most unusual ballpark, a most unusual occurrence would result?

It did not involve catwalks, doglegs or funky artificial turf. Instead, the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays produced this bizarre tale: The Phillies went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and still won Game 1, 3-2.

A productive first inning, in which Chase Utley followed a one-out walk by rocketing a home run to right against Rays starter Scott Kazmir, gave the Phillies liftoff.

Tacking on a run in the fourth when Shane Victorino scored on Carlos Ruiz's ground ball to shortstop gave the Phillies the final breathing room they would need.

Twenty-four-year-old starter Cole Hamels, in his World Series debut, did the rest. Well, most of the rest. Mixing in crisp curves, well-placed high-80s fastballs and the poise of a seasoned October man, Hamels limited Tampa Bay to two runs and five hits over seven innings.

Then manager Charlie Manuel went to his blueprint, employing set-up man Ryan Madson to work the eighth and closer Brad Lidge in the ninth.

So Philadelphia got a game it had to win.

And yes, even though it was only Game 1, you read that right.

The rotation matchup clearly favored the Phillies in Game 1 -- Hamels is that good. The rest of the way, not so much. Maybe you'd take Brett Myers over James Shields in Game 2 -- but that's iffy, and only if Myers is on top of his game. Matt Garza gets the nod over Jamie Moyer in Game 3, and Andy Sonnanstine vs. Joe Blanton is, at worst, a draw in Game 4.

None of this is to say that the Phillies can't, or won't, win with those matchups. Who knows, maybe they'll run the table and make it a short series.

If they don't win when Hamels pitches, it makes it that much more difficult, is all.
So they did win. And for a team that hadn't played a game in a week, a team surrounded by questions of whether it would be rusty, this was a very good start.

 

Posted on: October 22, 2008 5:34 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2008 7:28 pm
 

Coste Phils' DH; Zobrist in RF for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Game 1 lineups are in as the beginning of the World Series approaches, and there are two noteworthy decisions from Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel and Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon.

The first: Manuel has decided to use Chris Coste as his designated hitter. A backup catcher to Carlos Ruiz, Coste hit .263 with nine homers and 36 RBI in 98 games for the Phillies this season. He will bat eighth.

The interesting thing with this decision is that the Phillies only list two catchers on the roster. So if Ruiz is hurt and Coste fills in, the Phillies will have to play without a designated hitter.

"When I managed the Indians, I didn't do it very much, but since I've been over in the National League, I've done it quite a bit," Manuel said of using both of his catchers at once. "I've taken my catcher out quite a bit this year, and especially when Coste is catching, I'll put Ruiz in, sometime in the eighth inning or ninth inning, especially to catch (closer Brad) Lidge. ...

"As far as Coste DHing, I did think a lot about it, but I wanted to make sure that I could cover everything."

Also, Maddon will start Ben Zobrist in right field in place of Rocco Baldelli or Gabe Gross. Zobrist, the Rays' superutilityman who has only four postseason at- bats and hit only .253 with 12 homers and 30 RBI this season, will bat eighth.

Maddon told me at Tuesday's workout that matchups were favorable enough for Baldelli that he was considering playing the outfielder both in Games 1 and 2. But ultimately, given Baldelli's battle with mitochondrial disease (it leaves him fatigues and saps his muscles of energy), Maddon decided it was too risky to play him in both games.

"It's a matter of getting him physically ready to play today or tomorrow, and we chose tomorrow," Maddon said while the Rays took batting practice before their first-ever World Series game.

Part of that is because Cole Hamels, Philadelphia's Game 1 starter, is unusual in that he is a left-hander who is more effective against right-handers (like Baldelli) than lefties. For the season, right-handers hit only .215 against Hamels, while lefties hit .262.

As such, Maddon is playing three lefties -- second baseman Akinori Iwamura, first baseman Carlos Pena and outfielder Carl Crawford -- while leaving one semi-regular on the bench (outfielder Gabe Gross) in favor of Zobrist. Also, switch-hitter Willy Aybar will be the designated hitter, leaving lefty Cliff Floyd on the bench.

"We look at the way Hamels pitches and the way different guys in the lineup hit and the way pitchers are able to handle them," Maddon said. "Zoey has been getting work in the outfield. He's done great for us the last week of the season. We like Willy in there and we like Ben in there."

Said Baldelli: "I think I'm going tomorrow. When I showed up today, I wasn't in the lineup. That's all I know."

 

Posted on: October 16, 2008 2:11 am
 

Next stop for Manuel is mother's funeral

LOS ANGELES -- The whirlwind continues for Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, who was to fly overnight Wednesday from the Phillies' National League pennant celebration to Virginia for his mother's funeral.

While the rest of the Phillies were to charter home, the club was to provide the manager with a private plane bound for Roanoke, Va. Manuel's mother, June, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia before Game 2 of the NLCS. She was 87.

Manuel said he figured to land in Virginia on Thursday morning in time for the viewing, where he will join his five brothers and five sisters. The funeral is scheduled for Friday, and several members of the Phillies' organization are expected to attend.

Manuel will return to Philadelphia after that. He said late Wednesday that the Phillies will work out on Friday and Saturday, take Sunday off and then fly Monday morning to either Tampa Bay or Boston. The club then will work out later Monday and again on Tuesday in preparation for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday.

This undoubtedly is one of the most emotional times of his life on several levels, and when Wednesday's
Victory was in the books, Manuel, 64, alternately was reflective, thrilled and, as he often is, funny.

In describing Matt Kemp's drive that sent Shane Victorino to the center-field wall to haul it in with the Phillies leading 5-1, one on and one out in the ninth, Manuel said: "Mother Nature kept it in the yard tonight. You've got to have her on your side, too."

In the moments after the game ended, Manuel immediately hugged Victorino and several other Phillies -- though he couldn't remember whom he hugged first.

"It wasn't a woman, I know that," he quipped.

He also spoke at length of his team, in emotional terms.

"The attitude of this team is off the charts," Manuel said. "It's the best I've ever been around. And I totally mean that."

 

Posted on: October 13, 2008 8:22 pm
 

You'd think a major fight broke out

LOS ANGELES -- Something doesn't add up with Monday's disciplinary action. Since when does $16,000 equal zero?

The first number is the total dollars in fines handed out to seven different Dodgers and Phillies in the wake of the Game 3 dustup in this National League Championship Series.

The second number is the total ejections from the hollering match that started when Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda buzzed a fastball in the general vicinity of Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino's head.

This is a gross overreaction from baseball's discipline office.

It also is a prime example of how well things can go when they're actually handled on the field.

Umpire Mike Reilly and his crew did an excellent job of restoring order -- as did the coaching staffs from both teams.

And yet the Dodgers' Larry Bowa is slapped with a $500 fine by baseball's discipline czar, Bob Watson?

And Philadelphia's Davey Lopes gets $1,000?

"You'd think a major brawl happened," Lopes said during batting practice before Game 4. "He must have seen something on ESPN I didn't see."

Both managers, the Dodgers Joe Torre and the Phillies Charlie Manuel, also thought the fines were excessive. Especially because, again: No ejections. No punches throwing. Nothing but some screaming and hollering.

"They had total control of the situation," Lopes said of the umpires. "That's what I don't understand. All I said was, 'Play the game!'

"From (Watson's) perspective watching on TV, I guess they thought I was trying to incite a riot. ... I don't know. Who cares, it's over. He has a job to do. You can believe me or your lying eyes. He knows what it means."

Posted on: October 10, 2008 10:13 pm
 

Sad day for the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- I can't say for sure whether Game 2 of the National League Championship Series here was the toughest game Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel ever managed, but surely it was. The skipper mostly stayed secluded Friday after learning that his mother had passed away earlier in the day, skipping pre- and post-game news conferences, appearing only when his team was on the field.

"It's tough," Phillies reliever Ryan Madson said. "I didn't see a whole lot of him today, and I can understand why. Even though we were up for the game, we kept it mellow. It was calm today."

Manuel learned that his mother, June, had passed away in Virginia at the age of 87 Friday morning following a pre-game strategy meeting with his coaches. He was in a room with his coaches when he took a phone call and learned the news. His mother had been hospitalized earlier this week.

Making for an even sadder day for the Phillies, outfielder Shane Victorino learned immediately after the game that his grandmother, Irene, had passed away.

As Manuel privately grieved and the club prepared for the Dodgers, news of his mother's death affected the entire club.

"I went up to him right before I warmed up before the game and told him, 'I want to win this for your mom today,'" Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers said.

Myers said Manuel and his mother were on his mind for much of the game.

"I told him after the third or fourth inning that I loved him," said Myers, who notably became involved in a dugout shouting match with his manager earlier this season, an argument in which the two men had to be separated by Phillies coaches.

Manuel's response to Myers' expression of love?

"He said, 'Let's go! Pitch, kid!'" Myers said, slipping into a dead-on impression of Manuel's West Virginia accent.

"It was tough," said closer Brad Lidge, who collected his second save in as many games in this NLCS. "I think we all tried to make our rounds to him and tell him we're sorry for his loss. Even though we didn't say it verbally, I think we all wanted to win this game for him. You play baseball, but family comes first.

"I'm glad we won today. Whether people say it or not, we all have a ton of respect for him."

The Phillies did not have any information on services for June Manuel. After the game, a club spokesman said Charlie was planning to board the team charter to Los Angeles for Game 3 of the NLCS on Sunday in Dodger Stadium.

 

 
 
 
 
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