Actually, it’s The Manuel Manual.
Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee have not defied conventional baseball strategy by holding Papelbon back until he can save a game. In fact, they have made decisions that the 29 other managers in baseball probably would duplicate. The Book says you don’t pitch your closer in a tie game on the road, and rarely for more than three outs at any one time.
It does not make the logic any more sound, or the results less frustrating.
“I’m not supposed to use him,” Manuel said after Friday’s loss. “I don’t get a chance to use him. We’re not supposed to use him. We’re not going to burn him out early in the season when we can’t get to him.”
That has often been the message after those five games. In two of the first three games, Papelbon could have been deployed in a tie game or the eighth inning with a lead
...In Wednesday’s wild 15-13 loss to Atlanta, Papelbon could have entered with a lead in the eighth or in the tie game later.
“We never do that,” Manuel said that night. “It’s just not the way it is. Papelbon is in the ninth inning for a save. When we ever have a lead, when we start the ninth inning, he’s gonna save.”
And over and over. It’s been this way for some 30 years. If you were expecting it to change when the Phillies committed $50 million to Papelbon, then keep dreaming. And that’s no indictment of Manuel or Dubee. They are following The Book.