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If I'm Managing, I Go With Price, Madson

We're in uncharted territory here, obviously, with Game 5 of the World Series set to resume tonight at 8:37 p.m., in the bottom of the sixth with the Rays and Phillies tied at 2. The Phillies have four more turns at bat in regulation; the Rays have three.

But here's the guiding strategic principle I believe both teams will carry into tonight's resumption of play: You don't want to lose this game without deploying your best pitchers.

For the Rays, who will play defense first, it means you go with rookie LHP David Price from the get-go. But first, you send RHP Grant Balfour (who remains the pitcher of record from Monday night's suspension of play) to the mound, so that the Phillies have to announce their LH pinch-hitter (either Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs or Geoff Jenkins). That's when you make the move for Price. This will force the Phillies either to switch to a RH pinch-hitter (probably So Taguchi, since it's a leadoff situation), which would burn up one of their top pinch-hit options, or allow the LH hitter to face Price.

If you're the Rays, you leave Price in the game for at least two innings, all the way through the Utley-Howard combination in the heart of the Phillies' order, and maybe beyond. If Price gets you through the sixth and seventh, you still have two lefties (Trever Miller and J.P. Howell) to match up against Utley and Howard, as well as a full assortment of RHPs (Dan Wheeler, Chad Bradford, Edwin Jackson).

If you're the Phillies, you should go with RHP Ryan Madson right away, and begin with the assumption you'll ride him for two innings -- unless you take a quick lead, in which you deploy Madson and LHP J.C. Romero in a typical matchup fashion. What you don't want to do is fall behind with your best arms sitting in the bullpen. You only have nine outs to secure in regulation. So you get six of them from Madson, and the final three from Brad Lidge and hope your offense scrapes together a run. If the game goes into extra innings, you might be able to squeeze an extra inning out of Lidge, and you would still have Romero, as well as Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre, if it goes deeper than that.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 29, 2008; 1:27 PM ET
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I almost agree with you on this.

Except one thing..I highly doubt that, no matter what the situation, Taguchi is going to be anywhere near a bat.

The only time he might get in is to pinch run if a guy like Burrell gets on base.

Have you noticed how terrible Taguchi has been pinch hitting in the post season?

Here is what I do if I am Charlie Manuel.

1 - Someone brought up bringing Myers in for the 7th..thats not a bad choice but if you are going with just your bullpen, I would put Romero in there to get some outs in the 7th. This way, if the game is tied after the 7th the Phillies still can ride Madson for the 8th and 9th if need be.

Best case scenario for the Phils in the 6th inning is to have Dobbs bat, no matter who the pitcher is.

Maybe he gets on base but his pinch hit numbers are pretty good Taguchi is in to run. Rollins moves him over to 2nd with a bunt. Now there is 1 out, runner on 2nd.

Werth singles, runners first and 3rd 1 out. And Maybe Utley and/or Howard can sac in Taguchi. If Werth is unable to move Taguchi, you have 2 outs and now Utley hits to put the ball in play, anywhere.

Thats how I see it playing out. If Phils score, you will probably see Romero in the 7th, Madson 8th, Lidge 9th. Phils dont score probably Romero 7th and 8th. Then Madson or Lidge depending on the outcome of those innings.

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | October 29, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Rays face elimination tonight, so they can't hold anyone back. Phils, OTOH, can. Win tonight, and it doesn't matter who didn't pitch; lose tonight, and you get on a plane for about 2 hours (they do fly commercial, don't they?) and play a road game the next night. So they are going to want a rested arm or two, just in case.
Under other circumstances I'd say send the game six starter down there ahead, but who would put up with missing being on the field when his team wins the World Series? That would be too, too harsh.

Posted by: CEvansJr | October 29, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@ rdy4all2000, you left out what the count would be in those at-bats.

Posted by: CEvansJr | October 29, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Dave has the use of Balfour and Price right. I'll defer to the phillies fans what Manuel's reactions would be once Price comes in.

I think perhaps the use of Madson v. other relievers depends on whether the Phils grab the lead in the bottom of the 6th. Ideally, grab a lead, try to get an inning plus out of Madson, with maybe Romero matching up vs. a lefty or two, then Lidge to close. No lead - normal use of bullpen.

Natsfan1a1 - I get my Howells and Hammels mixed up.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | October 29, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Great guess! Cholly announced it will be Madson in the 7th for Philly. Don't expect Manual to stray too far from his normal routine. Madson is the guy until he gets into trouble or there is a lefty situation where he will go with Romero. Lidge in the 9th.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Price out of the gate b/c you can expect to see Dobbs or Stairs leading off the 6th.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | October 29, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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