For the second time this season, Jonathan Papelbon came into a tie game at home in the ninth inning, and for the second time, he allowed the go-ahead run to score after giving up an extra-base hit to a guy not exactly known for his power. I know y’all thought that, even on the heels of Papelbon’s five-out save on Friday, that this might be the end of Charlie Manuel’s more liberal usage of his best relief pitcher in high-leverage situations, but I actually managed to have a word with the Phillies skipper after the game and I think everything is going to be okay. Here’s how the conversation went:
Mike Baumann: Reach for the sky! Charlie Manuel: Huh? Baumann: This town ain’t big enough for the two of us! Manuel: What? Baumann: Somebody’s poisoned the waterhole! Manuel: Papelbon’s busted. Baumann: Who are you calling busted, Buster? Manuel: Huh? Baumann: That’s right! I’m talking to you, Charlie Manuel! We don’t like the bullpen having games blown up, Cholly. Or smashed, or ripped apart. Manuel: [hyperventilating] W-we? Baumann: That’s right, your fans!
[Fans get up and surround the terrified Manuel]
Baumann: From now on, you must continue to have Jonathan Papelbon pitch in high-leverage situations whether or not there’s a save on the line, because if you don’t, we’ll find out, Charlie! Baumann: [while turning head around slowly] We toys can see EVERYTHING! Baumann: [speaking and moving] So play nice!
[Manuel screams and runs inside]
The turning point in this evening’s game was undoubtedly the pinch-hit, two-run, game-tying home run by Carlos Ruiz. Go ahead and re-read that sentence and tell me if any of those qualifiers can be changed to make it more awesome. Maybe if it had been a walk-off, but let’s not get greedy. Anyway, His Royal Chorchitude has been nursing a hamstring injury that’s prevented him from catching so far this week, so having him pinch-hit caused a little bit of discussion between Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and his coaching staff. I actually have for you a transcript of that discussion.
Captain 2nd Rank Viktor Manuel: This game is seven bloody innings old. Sitting at the bottom of the division like an idle schoolboy. Starshina Mike Fontenot: Passing two out in the top of the seventh. Captain Manuel: Send up Schneider! Starshina Brian Schneider: Sending up Schneider. Captain Manuel: Inquire with the training staff about the possibility of going to Ruiz as a pinch-hitter. (lights cigarette) Seven innings. The entire division is after them. Starshina Brian Schneider: Safe and secure at second base. Captain Lieutenant Yevgeni Mackanin: Captain, training staff reports Ruiz as a pinch-hitter possible…but not recommended. Captain Manuel: (stubs out cigarette, thinks a moment) Go to Ruiz as a pinch-hitter. Lieutenant Mackanin: Captain! What is it? Where are we going? Captain Manuel: We’re going to kill a Met, Yevgeni. We’re going to kill Bobby Parnell.
Considering that Carlos Ruiz was thrown out of tonight’s game without ever seeming to lose his cool, I was interested to know what, exactly, Chooch said to home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom to warrant, as they say in soccer, a booking for dissent. I imagine the exchange went something like this:
Carlos Ruiz: I wonder that you will still be calling balls, Signior Cederstrom: nobody marks you. Gary Cederstrom: What, my dear Catcher Disdain! Are you yet living? Ruiz: Is it possible disdain should die while he hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Cederstrom? Srikedom itself must convert to balldom, if you come in his presence. Cederstrom: Then is strikedom a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all catchers, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none. Ruiz: A dear happiness to catchers: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious umpire. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than an umpire swear he saw a strike. Cederstrom: God keep your catchership still in that mind! So some umpire or other shall ‘scape a predestinate scratched face. Ruiz: Scratching could not make it worse, an ’twere such a face as yours were. Cederstrom: Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. Ruiz: A bird of my strike zone judgment is better than a beast of yours. Cederstrom: I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, i’ God’s name; I eject thee. Ruiz: You always end with a jade’s trick: I know you of old.
While watching Kyle Kendrick come in with a two-run lead and go walk-double-double-hit-by-pitch against a Mets lineup reminiscent of….you know what, I’m not even going to bother.
But we witnessed Kyle Kendrick, the Michael Bay of Phillies pitchers (keeps getting work without really ever having done anything substantively good, his appearance attended by explosions and disaster, and makes a lot of money), hitting Lucas Duda with a pitch to force in a run in a situation with a 4.30 leverage index (he posted a -0.66 WPA tonight, btw, the worst mark by a Phillies reliever since Ryan Madson blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning against the Nationals on August 19 of last year). Kendrick stood on the mound with the comportment of a man who’d like nothing more than to dig a hole in the infield and escape through the catacombs.
And yet Charlie Manuel sent him out for a second inning. Then replaced him with Jose Contreras, who hasn’t been effective in two years, and the runs continued to pour in.
I was reminded of this iconic scene from the 1993 movie Gettysburg, where a commander’s inaction eventually costs his side the battle.
Now, Charlie Manuel probably had a good reason to leave Kendrick in, but nevertheless, I’ve rewritten that scene in honor of tonight’s events.
Gen. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: General Lee. Maj. Gen. Cliff Lee: Sir, I most respectfully request another assignment. Amaro: Do please go on, General. Lee: The man is a disgrace! Sir, have you been listening at all to… to what the aides have been telling you? Ask General Halladay or General Blanton. Ask them. We could’ve taken that game! God in His wisdom knows we *should’ve* taken it! There was no one there, no there at all, and it commanded the series.
Lee: General Manuel saw it. I mean, he was with us! Me and Halladay and Blanton, all standing there in the dark like fat, great idiots with that bloody damned bullpen empty!
Lee: I beg your pardon, General.
Lee: That bloody damned bullpen was empty as his bloody damned head! We all saw it, as God is my witness! We were all there. I said to him, “General Manuel, we have *got* to take that game.” General Bowa would not have stopped like this, with the Mets on the run and there was plenty of light left on a game like that! Well, God help us, I… I don’t know wh… I don’t know why I…
Amaro: Do please continue, General. Lee: Yes, sir. Sir… I said to him, General Manuel, these words. I said to him, “Sir, give me one Papelbon and I will take that game.” And he said nothing. He just stood there, he stared at me. I said, “General Manuel, give me one Qualls and I will take that hill.” I was becoming disturbed, sir. And General Manuel put his arms behind him and blinked. So I said, General, give me one *Bastardo* and I will take that hill.” And he said *nothing*! He just stood there! I threw down my glove, down on the ground in front of him!
[he stops and regains his composure]
Lee: We… we could’ve done it, sir. A blind man should’ve seen it. Now they’re working up there. You can hear the axes of the Met troops. And so in the morning… many a good boy will die… taking that game.