The Phils Finally ‘Win One for the Skipper’

14 Jun

I don’t know about you but one of the worst things about this season has been having to watch poor Charlie Manuel’s post game press conferences.  Night after night he sits there rubbing at his face moving around in his seat and squinting out at the gathered media.

And night after night he has to field questions about the inconsistency of his woeful offense.

With the Phillies finally pulling one out last night beating the Minnesota Twins 3-2, to break their 5-game losing streak, at least Charlie got a short respite.  And he sure needed one.

Because lately, even the normally affable Phils skipper,  widely considered to be one of the nicest guys in the game, has been challenged by his team’s historic lack of production.  And his growing frustration has made him, let’s just say decidedly less affable.

“You can be the best player in the world, but you’ve got to hit.  The game can bite you.  The game don’t care how much money you make. It can get you.”

Well it’s certainly getting to Charlie.  For the first time I can remember in his tenure here as Phillies manager, Manuel publicly challenged his high-paid, low-performing lineup to do its job.

“We’re going to see if they can hit,” he said. “We’re going to see if they can hit. We’re going to see if they can hit. I’m pulling for every one of them, but that’s what we’re going to see.”

No that was not a computer repetition error.  That was frustration bubbling to the surface.  And I’m surprised it has taken him this long.

And when asked by a reporter the other night if he had considered moving the struggling Ryan Howard from the clean-up spot Charlie finally blew:

“What the [bleep] are you getting at? Who’s going to hit there? Let me ask you a question. Let me turn that around some.”

Well, how about Domonic Brown who leads the National League in home runs and is in the top five in RBI?

“I could put anybody in there, OK? Manuel said.  “I’ll do the managing. Whoever hits there, hits there.”

So last night’s win allowed the Skipper, for at least one night, not to have to answer all those questions yet again.

For one night he could talk about another terrific outing by the unflappable Cliff Lee who allowed just three hits, two runs and struck out six in seven innings to improve to 8-2 with a 2.55 ERA.

For one night he could laud a bullpen that actually did what it was supposed to do:  Mike Adams pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Jonathan Papelbon followed with a perfect ninth making him 12-12 in save opportunities.

Maybe Charlie could even allow himself a brief sigh of relief last night with this badly-needed victory that finally broke the Phillies 5-game losing streak.

For one night he could even point to that struggling offense that had 16 hits (though they could only plate three runs.)

And then there was Ben Revere who for the past two nights has finally looked like the guy the Phillies thought they traded for going 4-6 with 2 runs scored last night and 3-4 the night before.  Too bad he can’t play against his old team every night.

Perhaps for one night the tired Phillies skipper might go home and get a little sleep.

“I don’t know what I can do about it. I can go back to my room and sit there and look at the walls, and get up and come to the ballpark and look at the walls. I don’t know what I can do about it. The only thing I can do is to put them out there and let them play.”

And then again, maybe not.

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