Archive for Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Phillies’ skipper right about rotation

November 4, 2009

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Charlie Manuel made a gaggle of reporters chuckle Tuesday when he used the expressions “Manny being Manny” and “Brett being Brett” in the same sentence.

He was talking about his former Cleveland Indians hitting pupil Manny Ramirez and his current Phillies wise guy, Brett Myers.

Ramirez’s flakiness is dismissed as Manny being Manny. Manuel co-opted the phrase and pinned it on Myers after the pitcher made headlines with his sharp tongue on Tuesday morning. By the end of the day, Myers and Cole Hamels, the target of said sharp tongue, had laughed off their well-publicized bit of locker-room byplay and made plans to dine together in Manhattan.

Boys being boys. Brett being Brett.

“Charlie being Charlie.

Is there such a thing?

You bet there is. And if things go well for the Phillies in Game 6 of the World Series tonight at Yankee Stadium, you’re probably going to see Charlie being Charlie in action, right there under the bright lights of the Bronx in Game 7.

What is Charlie being Charlie? It is loyalty. It is sticking with people. It is never giving up on the folks who’ve made you look good in the past. It is having a feel that they are ready to deliver.

Manuel’s successful use of tortured closer Brad Lidge in the first two rounds of this postseason are a good example of Charlie being Charlie.

Game 7 — if there is one — likely will provide another example.

Manuel would not name a starting pitcher for that game, and that was not surprising considering the team’s back-to-the-wall status and his unwavering personal commitment to the one-game-at-a-time ideal. But if this thing comes down to Game 7 on Thursday night, you can bet your entire bag of Halloween candy that Hamels will get the start.

The same Hamels who has struggled mightily, recording a 7.58 ERA in four starts, this postseason.

The same Hamels who so many folks are saying should be sent home for the winter.

After much bobbing and weaving in a news conference on Tuesday, Manuel tipped his hand: He’s leaning toward Hamels if there’s a Game 7.

“When we sit down and measure out everything and talk it over — more than likely that might be exactly what we’re going to do,” he said.

Manuel is right for thinking this way. Despite all the drama surrounding Hamels, his stuff, his lack of a consistent — and that’s an important word — third pitch, his recent results and his mind-set, he remains the best option to start a possible Game 7.

Pedro Martinez, who will be entrusted with delivering a seventh game tonight, is out of the question.

Joe Blanton would be on short rest. J.A. Happ would be on too much rest. He has pitched just 71⁄3 innings since the start of October. It would be too risky to believe he has the sharpness to succeed against the most powerful lineup in baseball.

Cliff Lee, who pitched into the eighth inning in Game 5 on Monday night, could probably give Manuel an inning or two, but if that’s all you’re going to get, why not try to use him to protect a lead, if the Phils can get one against CC Sabathia?

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