Results tagged ‘ Tony La Russa ’

What Grade Does Charlie Get?

Charlie ManuelSo on WIP this morning Angelo Cataldi asked what grade Charlie Manuel deserves as manager.

Hmmmm … I think he gets an ‘A’ because in my opinion, wins and losses are the only things that matter.

Manuel has more wins than any manager in Phillies history (727) and his winning percentage (.561) is the best among Phillies managers with 300 or more games. He has won five National League East championships, two National League pennants and one World Series. The Phillies’ .561 winning percentage under Manuel from 2005-12 is best in the National League and third in baseball behind the Yankees (.590) and Angels (.563).

Now, if you’re argument is, well, he only won one World Series, despite some pretty talented teams … just a reminder the Phillies have won only two World Series since their inception in 1883. And a little perspective is good here, too. Jim Leyland has won just one World Series in 21 years as manager. Bobby Cox won just one in 29 years. Tony La Russa won three in 33. Tommy Lasorda won two in 21. Connie Mack won five in 53. The point here is that it is tough to win a World Series.

One in eight years with the Phillies isn’t so bad. In fact, I’m reminded of something Dallas Green told me in Spring Training 2004. He said, “If it were easy to win a World Series, I wouldn’t be the only son of a bitch walking around here with a ring.”

Leave Dallas to tell it like it is.

But I also know some people think Manuel didn’t take advantage of the talent he had. So what do you think? Vote.

More on Francisco’s Matt Stairs Moment

Courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau, here are a couple more nuggets regarding Ben Francisco‘s pinch-hit three-run home run last night:

It is the first time in postseason history a pinch-hitter has had three or more RBIs, accounting for all of his team’s runs. Only one pinch-hitter had two RBIs, accounting for all of his team’s runs: Kansas City’s Dane Iorg against the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. That’s otherwise known as the “Don Denkinger Game.”

Francisco hit because Cardinals manager Tony La Russa intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz to face him. Since 2000, there have been five lead-changing postseason home runs following an intentional walk.

La Russa has been victim of three of them:

  • San Francisco’s Benito Santiago in Game 4 of the 2002 NLCS. He intentionally walked Barry Bonds.
  • Houston’s Jeff Kent in Game 5 of the 2004 NLCS. He intentionally walked Lance Berkman.
  • Francisco in Game 2 of the 2011 NLDS. He intentionally walked Ruiz.

Now, I’m not going to say it was crazy La Russa intentionally walked Ruiz to face Francisco. La Russa said Ruiz “terrorizes” them, which is a bit of an exaggeration. But Ruiz has hit the Cardinals well. He has hit .310 with eight doubles, two homers, 13 RBIs and an .818 OPS in 33 regular-season games against St. Louis, although he was hitless in the first two games of the NLDS. But his OPS is 68 points higher than his career average. And Francisco was 1-for-18 in his postseason career, 1-for-9 against Jamie Garcia and hadn’t homered since May 25.

But Francisco certainly remembered his last at-bat against Garcia on Sept.16 at Citizens Bank Park, when he crushed a sinker to the warning track in left field. He felt good stepping into the batter’s box against Garcia, and this time he had results to show for it.

Getting Hot Bodes Well

Thumbnail image for manuel.jpgThe last time the Phillies saw the Nationals, Charlie Manuel expressed his frustration that his team played down to the competition.

“We’ve been getting outplayed by second division teams,” Manuel said last Thursday. “Our guys, especially the guys who were on our team the last couple years, know exactly what we’ve got to do. They know exactly how to get it. We’re playing right to the beat of basically who we’re playing. We’re just playing right with them. That’s how we played Pittsburgh. That’s how we played Houston. That’s how we played these guys.

“We don’t put anybody away.”

And that was after the Phillies won two of three from Washington.

But there is a good reason for the Phillies to start playing better in their final 20 games. Seven of the nine National League champions this decade were playing great baseball entering the postseason:

  • 2008: The Phillies finished a MLB-best 13-3 and won the World Series.
  • 2007: Colorado finished a Major League-best 14-1.
  • 2005: Houston finished an NL-best 13-5.
  • 2003: Florida finished a league-best 15-6 and won the World Series.
  • 2002: San Francisco finished an MLB-best 10-1.
  • 2001: Arizona finished a league-best 8-3 and won the World Series.
  • 2000: The Mets finished an MLB-best 9-2 in 2000.

Only the 2004 and ’06 Cardinals have bucked the trend. (Tony La Russa‘s genius?) The ’04 Cardinals lost five of their final seven games and went just 12-12 down the stretch. The ’06 Cardinals finished 3-9 before winning the World Series.

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