Yesterday my wife and I were avidly watching Playoff Game #1 between the Brewers and the Phillies. The Phillies were fortunate to score 3 runs against starter Gallardo, as defensive lapses aided the cause. In the meanwhile, Cole Hamels was absolutely superb for Philadelphia. The Brewers scratched out only two weak singles and one walk in eight shutout innings by Hamels. He completely dominated the Brew Crew as he rang up nine strikeouts. But in the eighth inning, Manager Charley "Captain Hook" Manuel ordered Closer Brad Lidge to warm up. This happened even though Hamels was breezing through the Brewers lineup. I told my wife, "Look at that, Charley is going to take Hamels out of the game". She said, "No, no manager would do that. Hamels is pitching the game of his life; he probably just wants Lidge to be ready in case Hamels runs into trouble in the ninth...".
Guess what? Hamels didn't even come out of the dugout. What does a starting pitcher have to do for Manuel to let him pitch in the ninth inning? Pitch a perfect game for the first eight innings? Well, Hamels was only 3 pitches from having a perfect game!
Why in the h*** couldn't he leave well enough alone? So let the starter come out for the ninth - IF he lets people on base, THEN call for the relief pitcher!!! But on the other hand, if the Brewers continued to make outs against Hamels in the ninth, Cole would have a complete game shutout victory, AND Lidge wouldn't have had to throw 35 pitches. (Not to mention, the heart palpitations we Phillies fans suffered as he nearly blew the save again!) With ace C.C. Sabathia starting for Milwaukee today, I think it is far more likely that Brad Lidge may be needed to pitch TODAY. The way Hamels was throwing yesterday, I believe it was a BIG MISTAKE to pull him after eight innings. Yes, the Phils won anyway. But, in this writer's opinion, they won IN SPITE OF Charley Manuel's decision, not because of it.
This isn't the first time I have disagreed with the way Charley handles the pitchers. He might know something about HITTING, and he may be liked by some of his players. But I don't like the way he uses (or fails to use) the pitching staff. I am surprised that some TV Broadcasters (especially former pitchers) don't challenge Charley Manuel's decisions in this regard. I've been questioning him for years!