The 2013 season has been a cruel one for Charlie Manuel. He’s lost major players to injury, seen his entire bullpen implode, and watched his team fall 18 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
In short, it’s been a nightmare.
But after last night’s 5-1 win over the Braves in Atlanta, Manuel had something to celebrate. Thanks to a stellar complete game effort from Cole Hamels, Charlie won his 1000th game as a big league skipper, becoming the 59th MLB manager to win 1000 games.
Hamels, Manuel and the Phils waited out an almost two hour rain delay before getting started last night, but anyone who stuck it out and watched last night’s game was treated to some vintage Hamels. Cole racked up nine strikeouts and gave up just one run on six hits and a walk, improving his record 5-13 on the season.
Of course, that record does not equate to how well he’s pitched for the majority of the 2013 season.
— Jordan Hall (@jordan1hall) August 13, 2013
So yeah, won-loss records really shouldn’t be much of a thing anymore.
And for people who think the Phils have “packed it in” on the 2013 season, Hamels wanted everyone to know that at least he is still going full bore.
“How do you want to go out?” Hamels said after the game. “How do you want to be remembered? I know we haven’t done it much, but we’ve got to start something. The pride that we all have, it has to be for something. There are not too many opportunities to play the game of baseball. It’s winding down, and we better finish strong.”
And Hamels is certainly on a roll now. Since the start of June, he has a 1.98 ERA in eight starts (stat courtesy of CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury).
As for Manuel’s accomplishment, it was a long time coming. The Phils went into last night having lost 17 of their last 20 games and had just been swept by the Nationals in Washington over the weekend, so it would have been fair if Charlie had wondered if this was ever going to happen.
There is also growing speculation that this will be Manuel’s last year with the Phillies. The team has not told Manuel what they are planning to do with him once his contract expires at the end of the year (or if they have they haven’t said publicly), and all indications are third base coach Ryne Sandberg is being groomed for the position.
So for one night in this lost baseball season, Manuel had a reason to celebrate.
“It’s definitely quite an achievement,” Manuel said. “Like I told my players, they’re the ones that make it happen. They play. The two organizations I’ve been with, they’re the ones that get the players for me. That just goes to show you just how good they are. It’s hard for me to stand there and say I accept all of my accolades, because the other people are definitely achieving those for you. That’s kind of how I look at it. I’m sure later on it probably means a lot more to me than right now. We’re still trying to win some games and stuff.” – quotes per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki
Offensively, third baseman Cody Asche was the story of the night, clubbing a big three-run homer off Atlanta starter Julio Teheran, the second of his Major League career to give the Phils a 4-0 lead in the sixth. Hamels also chipped in with a stand-up triple in the third and scored on an RBI single by Jimmy Rollins. Rollins had two hits, as did Chase Utley, who raised his average to .280. Carlos Ruiz also added an RBI single.
Still, Monday night belonged to Charlie Manuel. He may not be around much longer, so nights like last night are special.
Especially with the team lost in the wilderness of this awful 2013 season.