Phillies-Brewers: Charlie Manuel's Lack of Bullpen Strategy Leads to Loss

Todd TranauskyCorrespondent IApril 23, 2008

The Phillies three game wining streak came to an end with a 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. Mitch Stetter got the win in relief for the Brewers, and Derrick Turnbow pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his first save. Cole Hamels took the loss and fell to 2-3 on the season.

Hamels allowed three runs in the first inning before retiring the next ten hitters in a row. Rickie Weeks led off for the Brewers with a double down the left field line. Weeks scored when the next hitter, Gabe Kapler, singled to left and gave the Brew Crew an early 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Prince Fielder hit a launched a two run home run to centerfield to complete the early rally against Hamels.

Chase Utley cut the Brewers lead to 3-1 with his tenth home run of the year. One night after having his five game consecutive home run streak snapped in Colorado, he started another one with a long bomb to centerfield off Milwaukee starter Dave Bush. 

Bush came into the game with an 0-3 record and a 7.02ERA, but pitched well allowing four runs in his six plus innings of work. Greg Dobbs tied the game in the fifth with a two run home run off Bush, the second the right-hander allowed in the game.

Charlie Manuel sent Hamels back out to pitch the eighth inning after amassing 110 pitches, and this is when the ace of the Phillies staff faltered. Ryan Braun led off the eighth with a double and scored when Fielder launched his second home run of the game and gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead.

Manuel had a full complement of relievers rested and available out of the bullpen to close out the final two innings with a 4-3 lead, but instead left Hamels in an inning too long and his team suffered because of it.  Hamels had given the Phils seven strong innings and thrown 110 pitches in the third week of April. It was clearly time to turn it over to a rested and ready bullpen, but Manuel failed to pull the trigger.

The Phillies bullpen has the lowest ERA in the National League, and Manuel was afraid to pull the trigger. Manuel’s bullpen management must improve as this is at least the second game Manuel’s lack of baseball acumen has cost the Phils. These errors can not be tolerated and Manuel must be held accountable for his missteps.