The Phillies may not be the best at baseball for the moment, but if we break the game down into several key parts, we can begin to find certain areas in which they are, in fact, number one. The smaller a category we find, the more likely the Phillies are the best at it! All it takes is one mind-numbing afternoon of statistical analysis and ignoring hungry, whimpering pets to discern that the Phillies aren’t really all that bad.
Fortunately, you don’t even have to pretend you don’t hear your dog dragging his empty food dish around the kitchen, delirious with hunger, if you don’t want to. The Phillies are actually the best in some bigger areas of the game, including base stealing (we’re tied for first in stolen bases per game and fourth in attempted stolen bases per game). The other ones I think are pitching stats. We’re not going to talk about those.
Which you wouldn’t expect from a team organized by the cryptkeeper and playing with the cold finger of Death just inches away. So before last night’s game, the team was 10 for 11 in stolen bases, and after Juan Pierre’s outmaking attempt at third was a complete success, we sunk to 10 for 12.
Charlie Manuel apparently sent Pierre there because he’s got a message for everybody: The Phillies are coming at you. Sadly, that message has an asterisk along with it: Sometimes they will not come at your very quickly or accurately. Promising to be more aggressive on the base paths, Charlie’s sees it as his duty to maintain that philosophy, even if the steals in question come at completely nonsensical moments or at the risk of losing a game. Now, obviously, this inspires certain questions. Such as, does Charlie Manuel understand how base stealing works?
"“Did I like him getting thrown out? No. I like it when he’s safe, though.”–Charlie Manuel, via Matt Gelb"
So that should put those fears to rest forever.
Which is kind of cool, because it’s sort of like waking up in the passenger’s seat and discovering a clown chugging a bottle of whiskey is driving (instead of your mom, like you thought), and that you’re currently barreling through a cornfield (instead of calmly motoring down to Dr. Pendleton’s office to pick up the cat’s foot medicine, like you thought).
On the other hand, it is worrisome to know that at any point, Charlie will fire a pistol in the air and any runners on base will take off. But I guess at this point, ‘spontaneity’ could be the Phillies’ biggest weapon.
Undeterred by Pierre’s CS, Charlie Manuel has sworn commitment to the process, so we can look forward to a full season of Phillies scrambling around between bases, sometimes for an actual reason.