I am a Phillies fan and am one of the few people who has said from day one that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is terrible. I have said the Phillies have won despite his ineptitude because they have an extremely talented team. When the Phillies lose, they lose because of him. When they win, they win despite of him.
Manuel is a hero to most people in Philadelphia. People love Charlie and think he is an amazing manager. I always ask people what he does that is so amazing, and they say he won a World Series and wins games. However, this is what people don't understand. He won a World Series because he has an immensely talented team. He wins games for the same reason.
The Phillies' success is solely because they are so good, and Manuel has not been able to screw it up in the past. He has never been a good manager and it was exposed last year when he was badly out-strategized by Joe Girardi and it is being exposed again this year when he is being badly out-managed by Bruce Bochy, who is an excellent manager.
I have never seen a more evident example of Manuel's poor abilities than in Game 4 of the NLCS.
First, the Phillies continue to pitch Cody Ross inside with fastballs. It's the only pitch he can hit; stop throwing it to him there!
Second, Charlie came out to get Joe Blanton in the fifth inning, then decided to leave him in to give up a hit to give the Giants another run when he should have pulled him for Contreras right then.
Third, he left Chad Durbin in way too long when he was getting shelled.
Fourth, he did not give Jimmy Rollins the bunt sign in an obvious bunt situation with a runner on second base and no one out in a tie game.
Fifth, he let Oswalt pitch the ninth inning. While it would have been okay to pitch Oswalt if the game went to extra innings, he still had Romero in the bullpen and he should have went to Romero there (especially since Huff a lefty was at the plate).
Sixth, he left Bastardo in to face right handed hitters, when he should have just faced the lefty.
Seventh, the Phillies inexplicably sent Carlos Ruiz with one out in the 5th inning on a hard hit ball to center field, I know, Manuel isn't the third base coach but it's his coaching staff, so I believe he still gets part of the blame.
Finally, he did not double switch in the fifth inning and let Contreras pitch to only one batter. He also could have let Contreras bat with two outs and no one on in the sixth.
Charlie knew Blanton got chased early, so he could have left Contreras in to start the sixth inning. Had he done that, he may still have had more arms available in the ninth, like Ryan Madson.
If Contreras pitched the sixth, Chad Durbin could have moved to the seventh, Antonio Bastardo/Madson doesn't happen till the eighth and most likely Madson stays in to pitch the 9th.
There are probably more examples I am forgetting. The reality is that Manuel often leaves pitchers in too long, fails to double switch when he should and uses no strategy whatsoever in the everyday context of the game.
He is one of the worst managers in baseball, and gets away with being a moron because the Phillies are an extremely talented team. Anyone could win with this team, and Manuel is trying his best to screw it up.
Manuel also missed a great chance to fire his team up in the first inning. He should have been out of the dugout to argue a horrendous called third strike on Victorino on a pitch that was about a foot inside. If I am Charlie Manuel in that situation, I argue that call and if I get ejected, I get ejected. It would have sent a great message to the team that you have their back and probably fired up your team. Lou Pinella would have been out of the dugout faster than Michael Johnson ran the 100 yard dash.
I have pointed out to people all the mistakes and dumb decisions Charlie makes on an almost regular basis. People used to tell me I was crazy, but then they started paying attention and now most people I know agree with me.
Notice that I have not mentioned starting Blanton as a bad decision, because personally I think it was the right move, even though they lost. I would rather have the big three on full rest than have them all on short rest, so to be fair, I don't blame Manuel at all for that one.
He costs the Phillies about 10 wins a year with his poor managerial decisions, and he will likely cost them the NLCS with his stupidity as well.
The only good news is the Phillies have three very good pitchers in the next three games and they might pull it out. If they do, it will once again be in spite of Charlie. Manuel does nothing to help this team win.