There are no mulligans in baseball. And, even if there were, Charlie Manuel says, he still wouldn’t have double-switched when he brought righthander Jose Contreras out of the bullpen, anyway.
The situation: Score tied at 5. Padres runner at second with one out. Pinch-hitter David Eckstein at the plate. Pitcher’s spot leading off for the Phillies in the bottom of the inning.
Manuel could have put Contreras in the eight spot occupied by shortstop Juan Castro and brought Wilson Valdez in at the same time. But he didn’t.
Contreras threw one pitch. Eckstein hit into a doubleplay. Ross Gload, the Phillies’ No. 1 pinch hitter, was then used to lead off the ninth.
Instead of having Contreras available for another inning, closer Brad Lidge came in to a tie game in the ninth. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning but, after getting in Friday night’s game and warming up Saturday night, was going to be done.
Manuel ended up using his last three bench players in the bottom of the ninth. If Contreras had pitched the extra inning, Lidge could have been available for the 10th. Instead, he had to turn to Danys Baez, who ended up allowing the decisive run.
Even with the benefit of hindsight, Manuel didn’t second-guess himself.
“No. You know why? Because we wanted to make sure we got down to the end of the game,” the manager said. “We wanted to get two innings [out of Contreras and Lidge]. I thought it was very important that we hold them. We were definitely trying to win the game but it didn’t work out that way.”