Last night, in the 11th inning, and Pedro Feliciano already out of the game, Jerry Manuel called upon Ken Takahashi to pitch for Robert Parnell against the left-handed Chase Utley with a runner on base.
Takahashi walked Utley, let up a double to Shave Victorino, struck out Ryan Howard, but then surrendered a three-run home run to Rual Ibanez, which was the difference in the game.
Left-handed hitters entered the game batting .440 against Takahashi, while lefties are hitting .342 against Parnell, who struggled against Utley and Victorino the night before.
Manuel talked to reporters after the game, and had the following exchange:
Question: You talked earlier in the week about Pedro Feliciano and Ken Takahashi, and how you’d have a tough time bringing Takahashi in against a a power lefty… what changed your mind in this instance?
Jerry Manuel: “I didn’t really have any other choices at that point, it was late, Robert Parnell was out… We half way escaped but the last guy was able to put a good swing on it.
Question: Were there any other options… since Takahashi has been so ineffective against lefties?
Jerry Manuel: Not from the way that we’re built, not from the way that we’re built. He had some success against them in Philadelphia. We were just trying to get by at that particular point.
Question: Do you need another left-handed relief pitcher?
Jerry Manuel: Do I need another left-handed relief pitcher… I mean you’d like to have good pitching, don’t get me wrong, but that type of depth I don’t think is the issue. I think our issue is more offense, than pitching.
…well, i think they need another guy out there who can get out lefties with regular success… if not for now, then certainly for the stretch run against the Phillies…
For what it’s worth, left-handed hitters are batting .344 against Brian Stokes this season, they hit .316 against him last season.
In fact, Feliciano is the only guy in the bullpen, besides Rodriguez, who has had regular success retiring left-handed hitters during his career.
Later, Manuel told reporters he was never going to use Francisco Rodriguez in a tie game, saying, “I didn’t think it would be the right thing to do after pitching two innings, it needed to be a winning situation in order for him to pitch.”
…by the way, i don’t know who is featured in the player picture on parnell’s profile page on Yahoo!, but it isn’t parnell…