Tag: Charlie Manuel

The house that roared

After struggling at home for most of the year the Phillies have roared to life at Citizens Bank Park in early July. Coming off of a three-game sweep of the rival Mets at home, the Phillies pounded the Reds in a four-game set and now look to finish the first half of the season strong as the Pirates come to town.

The Phillies have won six of their last seven. In those games they’ve thrown 63 innings with a 2.29 ERA. The bullpen has been charged with one run in 19 innings (0.47 ERA) while throwing to an 0.63 ratio with 26 strikeouts. Jimmy Rollins has gone 12-for-28 with five extra-base hits and seven walks and sparkled defensively. The team never makes an error. They scored ten runs in an inning and 22 runs in a game. Jayson Werth homers every day. Victorino has played himself into the All-Star game. Rollins, Victorino and Utley combined to go 22-for-51 atop the lineup in the last four games.

The Phils are 45-38 on the year after taking three of four from the Cincinnati Reds. The Phils are in first place in the NL East, two games ahead of the Florida Marlins. The Mets and Braves are tied for third place, both teams are five games back.

The Phillies blasted the Reds in game one, winning 22-1. They scored ten runs in the bottom of the first, getting two-run homers from Victorino and Dobbs and a three-run shot from Utley. Hamels was fantastic. He allowed a solo homer to Johnny Gomes in the top of the second, but went seven innings and allowed just three hits without walking a batter. The Phils were up 16-1 by the fourth inning and Werth hit a grand slam in the bottom of a six-run eighth.

The Phils lost a close one in game two, falling 4-3. Happ gave them another impressive start, but the Phillies had a lot of trouble with situational hitting and failed several times the bring a runner home. They got a run in the third but couldn’t get any more after putting men on first and second with nobody out. They got a leadoff triple from Ruiz in the fourth but left him stranded. In the eighth they put men on first and third with one out but didn’t score. Home runs from Werth and Howard helped put the Phils up 3-0 by the end of the third. Brandon Phillips connected for a two-run homer off of Happ in the fourth, though, and Phillips tied the game at three with another home run in the sixth. Lidge entered the ninth with the score still tied. He gave up a leadoff double to Joey Votto and Votto came around to score on a Ramon Hernandez single to put Cincy up 4-3. The Phils went quietly in the bottom of the ninth.

The Phillies took game three 3-2 thanks to solid pitching and a show-stealing performance from Victorino. Lopez made his second start for the Phils and gave up a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Victorino made a run out of almost nothing in the bottom of the inning. He led off and reached on an infield single, stole second, went to third on a sac fly by Utley and scored on a two-out single from Howard to cut the Reds’ lead to 2-1. Lopez had to leave with a strained shoulder after five innings after throwing 82-mph fastballs in the top of the fifth. Werth blasted a home run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. Durbin, Romero and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings and the game went to the bottom of the ninth still tied at 2-2. Feliz led off with a single, moved to second on a two-out walk from Rollins and came in to score the game-winner on a single to center from Victorino.

The Phils won an ugly 9-6 game yesterday. Moyer didn’t have a good start and the Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. The Phils came back with two in the bottom of the third, thanks to an inside-the-park home run from Utley that was followed by back-to-back doubles by Howard and Werth. Edwin Encarnacion put the Reds up 4-2 with a solo homer in the fourth, but a two-run single from Victorino in the bottom of the inning tied the game at 4-4. Another home run off of Moyer, this one a two-run shot from Brandon Phillips, made it 6-4 in the fifth. The Phillies got four walks and two singles in the bottom of the fifth to go up 8-6 and a solo homer by Werth in the sixth put them up 9-6. Park was awesome in relief of Moyer, entering in the sixth with an 8-6 lead and going three scoreless innings. Lidge got the save in the ninth.

Outstanding pitching for the Phillies in the series. They threw 36 innings to a 3.25 ERA and an 0.89 ratio. This comes off a series against the Mets where the Phils threw to a 1.00 ERA and an 0.89 ratio over three games. So they’ve been pitching rather well.

Three great starts in the series for the Phils and one bad one yesterday. 24 innings with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.00 ratio for the starting pitchers combined. The starters allowed five home runs — one by Hamels, two by Happ and two by Moyer. They walked just two in 24 innings. Lopez and Moyer both walked one and Hamels and Happ didn’t walk any.

Hamels was awesome in game one. He allowed two singles and a solo homer over seven innings.

Happ went seven innings in game two and allowed three runs, all of which scored on a pair of homers by Phillips. Aside from the two homers Happ allowed four singles without walking a batter and struck out seven. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last four starts.

Lopez went five innings in game three, allowing two runs on five singles and a walk. The Phillies have won both of his starts and he’s pitched to a 3.18 ERA with a 1.15 ratio, walking just two in 11 1/3 innings.

Moyer allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings yesterday, raising his ERA on the year to 5.99. He’s allowed five home runs in 16 1/3 innings over his last three starts.

The bullpen allowed one run in 12 innings, the run the Lidge gave up in the ninth inning of game two. 0.75 ERA and an 0.67 ratio coming off of seven scoreless innings against the Mets with an 0.57 ratio. The pen didn’t allow a home run against the Reds and gave up just five hits and three walks in 12 innings. The trio of Durbin, Romero and Madson were particularly impressive in game three. Park was fantastic last night, going three scoreless innings in relief of Moyer.

Romero entered game three with two outs in the seventh, men on first and second and the score tied at 2-2 to pitch to Chris Dickerson. Romero struck him out looking to end the frame.

Eyre made his first appearance for the Phils since June 11 in the ninth inning of game one. He entered the game with a 22-1 lead and allowed a single and a double to the first two men he faced, but kept the Reds off the board by getting the next three hitters on a fly ball and two strikeouts.

The outing will surely help his splits for career ERA when pitching with a 21-run lead.

Durbin started the sixth inning of game three with the Phillies down 2-1. He got the first two men he faced before hitting Phillips. He got Laynce Nix on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

He came back to start the seventh in game three. Hernandez led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by the pitcher Homer Bailey before Durbin hit Edwin Encarnacion. It put men on first and second with nobody out. Durbin struck Johnny Gomes out looking for the second out and Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Dickerson.

Three good outings in a row from Durbin have lowered his ERA from 4.50 to 4.09. He allowed three home runs in 12 2/3 innings in April to start the year. He’s given up just three in 21 1/3 innings over 26 appearances since.

Park entered yesterday’s game in relief of Moyer in the top of the sixth with an 8-6 lead. He allowed a one-out walk in the sixth, but got the next two men he faced. He came back to strike out the side in the seventh and throw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Huge outing for Park in a tight game. Over his last six appearances he’s allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks over 8 1/3 innings. That’s a 1.08 ERA and an 0.84 ratio. Park made six appearances in May, four starts and two in relief. He walked 15 in 22 innings (and 12 in his 18 innings as a starter). So far in June and July he has walked six in 20 2/3 innings.

Walker threw the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies up 16-1 and set the Reds down in order.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game two with the score tied at 3-3. He set the Reds down 1-2-3.

He also pitched in game three, entering in the eighth with the score tied at 2-2. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and a 1-2-3 ninth.

Fantastic series for Madson, pitching three shutdown frames at critical times.

Lidge entered game two in the top of the ninth with the score tied at 3-3. Joey Votto led off with a double to right, was bunted to third and scored on a single by Hernandez before Lidge got out of the inning with a double-play ball.

He also pitched last night in game four, entering in the ninth with a 9-6 lead. He walked Willy Tavares with two outs, but struck Chris Dickerson out to end the game and earn his 17th save.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw 43 pitches last night, so I wouldn’t be expecting to see him in tonight’s game.

The Phillies scored 37 runs in the four-game series (22 in game one).

Rollins was fantastic in the series, both with his glove and with the bat. 7-for-17 with a double and four walks. He is hitting 227/281/351 on the season. He’s 14-for-his-last-32 and hitting .400 in July.

Victorino was pretty fantastic hisownself. He won game three with a walkoff single that scored Feliz and had a monster game one in which he drove in four runs. 8-for-17 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. 309/375/463 on the year.

Utley hit an inside-the-park home run yesterday. With two outs and nobody on he hit the ball high off the wall in center. It came off the wall and rolled along the track while Utley hustled around the bases and scored without a close play at the plate. 7-for-17 with two doubles and two homers and six RBI in the series. 307/427/578, so Victorino has a higher batting average on the season, which probably won’t last long.

Howard went 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and three RBI. He’s at 253/332/522 on the year. Everyone in front of him is on fire these days, so there are a ton of RBI chances for Howard. He’s hitting just 200/333/333 in July, though.

Werth homered in every game in the series. 6-for-15 with a double, four walks, four homers and nine RBI. 268/373/522 on the year. He’s slugging .885 in July. He hits a lot of home runs with Ryan Howard not on base.

Dobbs starting left field for all four games and went 7-for-16 with a double and a home run. 274/319/472. He was hitting 172/246/310 after 0-for-1 against the Blue Jays on June 17. He even drew a walk in last night’s game, which gives him two since the end of May.

Feliz was 5-for-18 with five singles and is at 292/339/407 for the year.

Ruiz started games one, two and four of the series and went 3-for-9 with a triple and a walk. He’s hitting 239/340/374 for the year. 3-for-his-last-19.

Coste was 0-for-1 in the series to drop his line for the year to 245/342/382. He has two at-bats in July.

Bako started game three. He was 1-for-6 in the series and is hitting 200/273/250 in 20 at-bats on the year. In the last three games that Bako has started the team the Phillies were playing has scored two runs twice and one run once. Coincidence? Probably.

Bruntlett was 1-for-5 with a double in the series. 139/207/208.

Mayberry was on the bench to start all four games with the Reds starting four righties. He was 0-for-2 with a walk in the series. 200/250/511 for the year in 36 at-bats. He’s 1-for-his-last-20 with 11 strikeouts.

There’s a whole lot of things going right for the Phillies. One of the things that isn’t and that has been a problem for a long time is right-handed hitting off the bench. Bruntlett, Coste and Mayberry aren’t in a groove. Need some help.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with three walks in the series. His line is at 271/427/458 for the year. Just one extra-base hit, a double, since he homered against the Fish on May 27.

Shane Victorino won the vote and made the All-Star team.

Things are heating up with Pedro Martinez. Martinez will throw for the Phillies again this afternoon. Todd Zolecki seems to think there’s a good chance the Phils will get Pedro.

Lopez says he should be able to make his next start, which could be on July 20.

Update: Jayson Werth has also made the NL All-Star team, taking the place of the injured Carlos Beltran. The addition means that all three of the Phillies starting outfielders will join Utley and Howard on the team.

More update:
The Phillies activated Ibanez from the DL and designated Chris Coste for assignment. Coste was claimed by the Astros.


So I guess this means that in some Julys they could score a run with a man on third and nobody out

Charlie Manuel has managed the Phillies since the 2005 season. Here is the team’s record by month since ’05 (nothing in this post includes the results of last night’s game):

Month W L WPCT
March 0 1 .000
April 57 63 .475
May 81 60 .574
June 62 72 .463
July 62 46 .574
August 66 47 .584
September 67 41 .620
October 2 1 .667
       
Total 397 331 .545

September has been the Phillies best month by a wide margin. If they played to a .620 winning percentage over 162 games they would go 100-62. April has been bad and, now that June of 2009 in the books, June has been worse. If the Phils played to their .463 June winning percentage over 162 they would post a 75-87 record. The months other than April and June have been very good — the worst of the other four full months are May and July. In each of those months the Phils have a .574 winning percentage, which would be good for a 93-69 mark over a full season.

So far under Manuel the Phillies have been very strong the last three months of the year — they are 195-134 (.593) in July, August and September and 200-195 (.506) in April, May and June.

Manuel has five Mays under his belt as manager of the team and in all five of them the team has been above .500. It’s a bit hard not to wonder how many of those Mays have occurred out of necessity — in three of the five seasons that Manuel has managed the team has been under .500 in April. Whatever the reason, there has been a pretty significant difference in the team’s winning percentage in games played in April and June and their winning percentage in games played in May, July, August and September:

Month W L WPCT
April and
June
119 135 .469
May, July,
August, September
276 194 .587

Victorino continues to battle Pablo Sandoval to be voted in to the All-Star game. You can vote at the Phillies web site.

The Phillies watched Pedro Martinez pitch yesterday and may be interested in trading for Roy Halladay. I would be surprised if it was the case that the Phillies don’t have the prospects it would take to get Halladay — my guess, though, is that the organization would be much less enthusiastic about taking on Halladay’s huge contract. As the linked article mentions, he’s due to earn $15.75 million next year.


30 days of plight

The Phils were an ugly 11-15 in June, a .423 winning percentage over 26 games.

By winning percentage, June of 2009 is the worst month in which they played at least three games they’ve had since June, 2006. In June of 2006 the Phils went 9-18 and never recovered. The Phils went into June ’06 at 27-25 and came out of it 36-43. They went 49-34 after the end of June but it wasn’t enough. They finished in second place in the NL East at 85-77, 12 games behind the Mets. The Dodgers were the Wild Card team that year at 88-74.

Charlie Manuel took over as the manager of the Phillies for the 2005 season. Here are the best months the Phillies have had since then (not including this month or months where they played less than four games):

Month Record WPCT WPCT Rank
September ’08 17-8 .680 1
September ’06 18-10 .643 2
August ’06 18-11 .621 3
May ’06 17-11 .607 4
May ’09 17-11 .607 4
September ’07 17-11 .607 4

And here are the worst:

Month Record WPCT WPCT Rank
June ’06 9-18 .333 1
April ’05 10-14 .417 2
April ’06 10-14 .417 2
June ’09 11-15 .423 4
April ’07 11-14 .440 5

Each of the five worst months have come in the first three full months of the six-month season. Four of the six best months have come in either August or September.

Even if the Phillies hadn’t played better historically under Manuel towards the end of the season, a big difference between the ’06 swoon in June and the ’09 swoon in June is the quality of the teams in the National League East. In 2006 the Phils finished their miserable June 11 games out of first. This year when June ended they led the NL East by a game and half.

The other thing about 2009 was how good their May was — they went 17-11, giving it a place as one of the three months tied for fourth-best on the list above. It helped the Phils come into June this season with a 28-20 record, which put them in first place in the NL East atop the Mets by a half game.

Finally, as bad as the Phillies were in June of this year, the team that most people see as their primary competition for the division, the Mets, were even worse. New York went 9-18 in the month. They came into June half a game behind the Phils and even with the Phillies playing terribly ended June three games behind them.

Ibanez went 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday at Reading and may be activated in time to play against the Pirates this weekend.

You can vote for Victorino to make the All-Star team until the afternoon of July 9 at the Phillies web site (click on the big thing that says, “Get Victorino to the All-Star game.”)

This says the Phils will be watching Pedro Martinez pitch in the Dominican Republic today. Please no. Charlie Manuel doesn’t sound particularly geeked up about it either.

Bodog.com offers sports betting online.


A Manuel for the ages? (part three)

Six managers left. Here they are, again with their winning percentage with the Phils, their Pythagorean winning percentage with the Phils and whether or not they ever took the Phillies to the post-season:


Manager

W-L

Years

WPCT

P-WPCT

Post-season?

Bill Shettsline

367-303

1898-1902

.548

.527

NO

Pat Moran

323-257

1915-1918

.557

.548

YES

Paul Owens

161-158

1972, 1983-84

.505

.495

YES

Danny Ozark

594-510

1973-1979

.538

(.540)

YES

Dallas Green

169-130

1979-1981

.565

.535

YES

Charlie Manuel

354-294

2005-2008

.546

(.548)

YES

And here’s what I see as the key elements for and against for each as the best manager in Phils’ history:

Manager For Against
Bill Shettsline (1898-1902)
  • Fourth-best winning percentage of the
    original group of 25 managers (third-best of remaining six)
  • Second-best difference between winning percentage and Pythagorean
    winning percentage of the six remaining managers (and third-best among
    the original group of 25)
  • Won more games than any of the remaining six except for Ozark
  • Never took the Phillies to the post-season

 

Pat Moran (1915-1918)
  • Third-best winning percentage among
    the original group of 25 managers (second-best for the remaining six)
  • Took the Phillies to their first World
    Series in 1915 (they lost to the Red Sox four games to one)
  • The difference between his winning
    percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage is just fourth-best of the
    remaining six managers
Paul Owens (1972, ’83-’84)
  • Took the Phillies to the World Series
    in 1983 (where they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, four games to one)
  • Has the worst winning percentage of
    the six managers that are left — he won just three more games than he
    lost at the helm for the Phils
  • Managed just 319 games for the Phils,
    second-fewest among the original group of 25
Danny Ozark (1973-1979)
  • Took the Phillies to the post-season
    three times, the most of any manager
  • Won 594 games for the Phils,
    third-most in team history and more than 200 more than anyone else in
    the remaining group of six
  • Has a Pythagorean winning percentage
    that is worse than his actual winning percentage
  • Had disappointing results in the
    post-season, winning the NL East in ’76, ’77 and ’78 but going 2-9 in
    three National League Championship series
Dallas Green (1979-1980)
  • Best winning percentage among the
    original group of 25 managers
  • Best difference between winning
    percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage among the original group
    of 25 managers
  • Won the World Series in 1980 (the
    Phils beat the Royals four games to two)
  • Took the Phillies to the post-season
    twice, matched or bettered only by Manuel and Ozark
  • Managed just 299 games for the Phils,
    just two full seasons (’80 and ’81) and part of 1979.  The 1981
    season was a strike-shortened 107 games
Charlie Manuel (2005-2008)
  • Took the Phillies to the post-season
    twice
  • Won the World Series in 2008 (beat the
    Tampa Bay Rays four games to one)
  • Fourth-best winning percentage among
    the six managers that remain
  • Has a Pythagorean winning percentage
    that is worse than his actual winning percentage

Five guys of this group I don’t think are the best manager in Phillies history:

  • Bill Shettsline. I think the inability to take the Phils to the post-season kills Shettsline’s chances. He finished in the top three in the NL in 1899, 1901 and 1902 and won more games than the Pythagorean won-loss record suggests he should have in each of those years, but the closest he got to the post-season was 1901 when his Phils finished 7 1/2 games behind the Pirates. Other than that, though, his case is very strong. Fourth-best winning percentage of the original group of 25 and the third-best difference between the winning percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage. I don’t think you can make a case that he’s better than Green, though, who 1) had a better winning percentage, 2) had a better difference between his winning percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage and 3) won the World Series, without weighing heavily the fact that Shettsline managed and won so many more games. I don’t think that’s enough. This article would also have you believe that he once had an 11-year-old child thrown in the clink for refusing to return a ball that had left the field of play.
  • Pat Moran. Another fantastic winning percentage, third-best of the original group of 25 and second-best among the 25 that remain. Didn’t do quite as well against his Pythagorean winning percentage as some of the other guys, though. He took the Phils to their first World Series in 1915. The team was very good that year and dominated the National League, leading the league in both average runs scored per game and average runs allowed per game. The AL, which had three outstanding teams in 1915, Boston, Detroit and Chicago, sent the Red Sox to the ’15 World Series. Despite their dominance in their own league, the Phils were dispatched quickly in five games. The Phils took the opener with a 3-1 win, but dropped four one-run games in a row after that. In three of the four games the Phillies allowed a run in the ninth inning that gave Boston the win. The American League may just have been better than the NL in 1915, but there is a sense that the Phils, who also underperformed their Pythagorean wins by two victories, underperformed a bit after dominating the NL. Moran would go on to manage the 1919 Cincinnati Reds to a World Series victory, beating the Chicago White Sox five games to three in a series marred by the Black Sox Scandal.
  • Paul Owens. I don’t think there’s much of a case to be made for Owens against the rest of this group despite taking the Phils to the World Series in 1983. Owens did make it to the series with what was arguably the second-best team in the National League. The Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves by three games to win the NL West and the chance to face the Phils in the NLCS (which the Phils won three games to one), but I would argue that the Braves and their monster offense that year were the better team overall. Owens lost the World Series to a Baltimore team that was simply better than the Phils. Overall he won just three more games than he lost while managing the Phillies.
  • Danny Ozark. Ozark had a ton of talent and won a ton of games, third-most in Phillies history. The Phillies have had two teams that won 100 games in a season and Ozark managed both of them. He won the NL East in 1976, ’77 and ’78. His ’76 Phillies may well be the best team in the history of the franchise. No other manager has taken the team to the post-season three times. Two big factors against Ozark as I see it, though: 1) His Pythagorean winning percentage is worse than his actual winning percentage and 2) despite all the talent, he never took the Phillies to the World Series and went 2-9 in three National League Championship Series. On the post-season, you have to give him a pass for 1978. The Dodgers, who beat the Phils three games to one in the NLCS, were just better than the Phils that year. They won more games, scored more runs and allowed fewer. The ’76 Phillies may indeed be the best team in the history of the franchise, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Reds, who rolled them in a three-game sweep, were at least as good if not a tick better. In the same way, the ’77 Dodgers, who beat the Phils three games to one, may also have been a touch better than the ’77 Phils. So Ozark was certainly the victim of some bad luck to run into monster Reds and Dodgers teams in ’76 and ’77. Regardless of the circumstances, though, 2-9 is hard to overlook and the combination of that plus the comparison to other managers who have outperformed their Pythagorean win expectation makes it tough to see him as the best in history.
  • Charlie Manuel. Manuel won the 2008 World Series despite having, almost inarguably, the second-best team in the NL. The Cubs won more games, scored more runs and allowed fewer runs. The Phils didn’t have to beat the Cubs to get to the World Series, the Dodgers did it for them, but they went to the World Series, and won it, with the second-best team in their league nonetheless. The Rays team that they beat wasn’t particularly a powerhouse. Of the five teams in the AL East, for example, three of them scored more runs than Tampa Bay. The Rays did have fantastic pitching, but, despite the fact that they beat the Red Sox in the ALCS, Boston was arguably the better team overall. I’m not going to argue that the Blue Jays were better than the Rays, but thanks to their amazing pitching their run differential in 2008 was better than Tampa Bay’s. None of that is Charlie Manuel’s fault, of course, he could only beat the team they put in front of him. And he did. He does have a Pythagorean win percentage that’s worse than his actual win percentage, which makes it hard to put him ahead of a guy who also won the World Series and does not. His winning percentage is also the fourth-lowest of the six managers in this group. Manuel has managed 648 games for the Phils and gone 354-294. To post the same winning percentage as Green, .565, he would have had to have gone 366-282. Green outperformed his Pythagorean win percentage by .030, the best rate of the original group of 25. To have outperformed his Pythagorean win percentage of .548 by the same margin, Manuel would have to post a .578 win percentage — over 648 games that would be a 375-273 record. Manuel is almost surely never going to pass Green in difference between his Pythagorean winning percentage and winning percentage and probably never in winning percentage either. Another post-season appearance, though, seems possible and would give him three, which would tie him with Ozark for the most in team history and strengthen his case considerably given that he’s already won the World Series.

Just one guy left and, as you may have guessed, I think he’s the best Phillies manager of all time.

  • Dallas Green. Best winning percentage of the group of 25. Best difference between the winning percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage. Won the World Series in 1980. I think there can be two big components of an argument against Green, but neither of them is enough for me. The first is that he simply didn’t manage enough games, just 299, and was the only manager of the team for just two seasons — 1980 and the strike-shortened 1981 in which the Phils played just 107 games. The second is that Manuel won the World Series with the second-best team in the NL while Green won it with the best. Green also caught a break in 1980 by getting to play the Astros rather than the Dodgers in the NLCS despite the fact that the Dodgers were probably a little better. LA trailed the Astros by three games with three games to play at the end of the ’80 season. The Dodgers swept Houston in the three-game set to force a one-game playoff, which Houston won 7-1. Houston got ahead of the Phils two games to one in the NLCS, but the Phils won a pair of extra-innings games in four and five to take the best-of-five set three games to two. Green also got a break in getting to play the Royals for the World Series in a year where the AL East featured two teams, the Yankees and the Orioles, that both won 100 games and were both probably better than KC. But the Yanks edged out Baltimore to win the AL East and Kansas City swept New York to go to the World Series, where the Phils topped the Royals four games to two.

A Manuel for the ages? (part deux)

After eliminating ten managers in the quest for the best Phillies manager of all time, there are 15 left in round two. Here they are, with their win percentage, Pythagorean win percentage (if their Pythagorean win percentage is better than their actual win percentage, it’s in parenthesis) and whether or not they ever took the Phillies to the post-season:


Manager

W-L

Years

WPCT

P-WPCT

Post-season?

Harry Wright

636-566

1884-1893

.529

(.530)

NO

Bill Shettsline

367-303

1898-1902

.548

.527

NO

Billy Murray

240-214

1907-1909

.529

.529

NO

Red Dooin

392-370

1910-1914

.514

.503

NO

Pat Moran

323-257

1915-1918

.557

.548

YES

Ben Chapman

196-276

1945-1948

.415

.392

NO

Eddie Sawyer

390-423

1948-52, 1958-60

.480

(.486)

YES

Steve O’Neill

182-140

1952-1954

.565

.547

NO

Mayo Smith

264-282

1955-1958

.484

.473

NO

Gene Mauch

646-684

1960-1968

.486

.483

NO

Paul Owens

161-158

1972, 1983-84

.505

.495

YES

Danny Ozark

594-510

1973-1979

.538

(.540)

YES

Dallas Green

169-130

1979-1981

.565

.535

YES

Jim Fregosi

431-463

1991-1996

.482

(.487)

YES

Charlie Manuel

354-294

2005-2008

.546

(.548)

YES

I am going to eliminate nine managers in this round. They are Fregosi, Sawyer, O’ Neill, Murray, Chapman, Smith, Mauch, Dooin and Wright.

Here’s my thinking.

  • Jim Fregosi. Despite taking the Phillies to the World Series in 1993 (where they lost to the Blue Jays and Joe Carter), his overall winning percentage with the Phils is both below .500 and below is Pythagorean winning percentage.
  • Steve O’ Neill. A fantastic .565 winning percentage is tied with Dallas Green for the best of the group. The difference between his winning percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage is also impressive. He managed so few games, though, just one full season. He took over for Eddie Sawyer in ’52, managed all of ’53 when the Phils finished third but 22 games out of first in the eight-team National League and just 77 games of the 1954 season. Despite the impressive numbers elsewhere, it’s just not enough games.
  • Eddie Sawyer. Like Fregosi, Sawyer took the Phils to the World Series and lost but also had a winning percentage that is both below .500 and below is Pythagorean winning percentage. Sawyer’s Phillies edged out the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the NL by two games in 1950. They were swept by the Yankees in the World Series. That stint with the Phils ended in 1952, but the team brought him back again late in the decade — Sawyer’s Phils went a miserable 94-131 in ’58, ’59 and one game of the 1960 season.
  • Billy Murray. Has a solid .529 winning percentage with the Phils, but never took the team to the post-season and did not outperform his Pythagorean win percentage. Very solid, but not enough to be considered the organization’s best of all time.
  • Ben Chapman. Huge difference between his winning percentage and his Pythagorean winning percentage, the second best of the group after Dallas Green. Still, his teams were miserable, his .415 mark is the worst winning percentage of the group by a lot and he never finished better than sixth in the NL. He embarrassed the organization with his treatment of Jackie Robinson in 1947.
  • Mayo Smith. The difference between Smith’s Pythagorean and actual winning percentages is impressive, but he won less than half of his games at the helm of the Phils and never saw the post-season with the team. In his best year with the team, 1955, the Phillies finished fourth in the eight-team National League. He would have an impressive run with the Tigers late in his career, beating the Cardinals to win the 1968 World Series.
  • Red Dooin. Dooin posted more wins than Pythagoras suggests he should have, but his team finished higher than fourth in the NL just once in the years he managed — in 1913 the Phils finished second, but 12 1/2 games behind the New York Giants, who apparently were getting calls at the line of scrimmage a hundred years ago as well. The difference between his winning percentage and Pythagorean percentage is the fifth-best of this group.
  • Gene Mauch. Mauch won less than half the games he managed, but still leads the organization with 646 victories. He finished higher than fourth in the NL just once and when he did it was memorable. In 1964 the Phillies were 90-70 with 12 games to play and lead the National League by 6 1/2 games. They went 2-10 the rest of the way and finished a game behind St Louis. Mauch’s ’61 Phillies lost 23 in a row at one point and finished a hide-your-eyes bad 47-107.
  • Harry Wright. Wright is a legendary manager who is in the Hall of Fame, but not for anything he did in Philadelphia. Between 1872-1878, Wright won championships six times in seven years. His Boston Red Stockings of the National Association, for which Wright was a player manager who saw significant time on the field through 1874, won the National Association in ’72, ’73, ’74 and ’75. As manager of the Boston Red Caps, he won the National League 1877 and 1878. He didn’t have quite the same success in Philadelphia, though. He did lead the Quakers to a second-place finish in the NL in 1887, when they finished 3 1/2 games behind the Detroit Wolverines. That was as good as it got for him in Philadelphia — when you compare him to the rest of the list he is also hurt by posting a winning percentage worse than his Pythagorean winning percentage.

Six left. Green, Manuel, Shettsline, Moran, Ozark and Owens.


A Manuel for the ages?

Best Phillies manager of all-time (over several posts). Here goes.

You don’t have to go very far down this path before you bump into a big problem: best, in this case, means different things to different people. There is no answer to this particular question, only a bunch of different opinions.

For purposes of this post I am looking only at Phillies managers who have managed at least 299 games for the Phils since 1884 (in 1890 the team changed its name from the Quakers to the Phillies). It would be 300 games, except that would exclude Dallas Green, who managed 299 games for the Phils.

Some things are easy. Gene Mauch, who managed the Phillies between 1960 and 1968, has managed the most games for the Phils and has the most wins (646).

In terms of sheer magnitude of games managed and games won, Phillies history features a big three that includes Mauch, Harry Wright and Danny Ozark. All three of the group managed over 1,000 games and won about 600 for the Phils. Mauch was 646-684 (.486). Wright managed from 1884 to 1893 and went 636-566 (.529). Ozark managed from 1973-79 and went 594-510 (.538).

After that trio there’s a big drop — Jim Fregosi (’91-’96) is next in terms of games won and he won only 431, 163 less than Ozark, who had the fewest wins of the group of Mauch, Wright and Ozark.

Anyhow, if you thinks it’s all about the number of wins it makes your job easy. It’s Mauch and you’re done. I’m going to keep going, though.

Twenty-five managers have been at the helms for at least 299 games since 1884. I am going to eliminate ten of them immediately. They are:

Hugh Duffy (1904-06, 206-251, .451)
Art Fletcher (1923-26, 231-378, .379)
Burt Shotton (1928-33, 370-549, .403)
Jimmie Wilson (1934-38, 280-477, .370)
Doc Prothro (1939-41, 138-320, .301)
Frank Lucchesi (1970-72, 166-233, .416)
John Felske (1985-87, 190-194, .495)
Nick Leyva (1989-91, 148-189, .439)
Terry Francona (1997-2000, 285-363, .440)
Larry Bowa (2001-04, 337-308, .522)

I don’t think any of those ten are the best manager in Phillies history.

Of that group of ten, seven, Duffy, Fletcher, Shotton, Wilson, Prothro, Felske and Francona, meet all of these criteria: 1) They had a winning percentage while managing the Phils of under .500 2) Their Pythagorean win percentage was higher than their actual winning percentage (ie, they won fewer games than the formula expects) and 3) they never took the Phillies to the post-season.

Incidentally, Charlie Manuel and Francona have now managed the same number of games for the Phils. Manuel has gone 354-294 (.546). Like Francona, Manuel’s Pythagorean win percentage is worse than his actual win percentage. It is also worse by almost exactly the same amount (Manuel has a .546 win percentage and a .548 Pythagorean win percentage while Francona’s are .440 and .441). Francona never won the World Series with the Phils, however.

Bowa, Leyva and Lucchesi also were eliminated.

Leyva has a .439 winning percentage and Pythagorean win percentage that was the same as his actual winning percentage.

Lucchesi’s .416 winning percentage was miserable, although it was slightly better than his Pythagorean win percentage (.404).

Bowa’s .522 winning percentage was solid, but not as good as his Pythagorean win percentage of .524. Among the 25 managers in the group, the difference between his actual win percentage and Pythagorean win percentage is tenth worst. Also if I thought Larry Bowa was the best manager in the history of the Phillies I would have trouble taking myself seriously.

That leaves 15 for the next post.


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