Charlie Manuel is usually upbeat but this season is wearing on him. He sees a group of hitters who don’t show patience at the plate. His starting pitchers not named Cole Hamels and his relievers have produced a season of inconsistent performances.
So Manuel has said that jobs are to be won in these final 38 games. And even though he loves the game, Manuel couldn’t hide his frustration when asked how hard this season has been on him.
“It’s tough for me,” he said after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. It’s a challenge and that is good but at the same time I want us to keep playing hard and improving.”
Good luck with that wish, especially the improving part.
Among the more impatient hitters is Jimmy Rollins who is now batting .238 and has an on-base percentage of .297, not what a team is looking for from a leadoff batter.
“When Jimmy works the count, he is hitting good,” Manuel said.
That hasn’t happened consistently this year.
Manuel also seems like he is getting tired of being asked about Vance Worley’s loose bodies in his elbow.
“If something is wrong with his elbow he should tell us because we will do something about it,” Manuel said before the game.
Manuel says players are always getting MRIs to see if they are healthy enough to perform.
“When they (the medical staff) say he is OK and fine, then it is OK to pitch,” Manuel said.
To Worley’s credit, he has not blamed his elbow for a disappointing season that has him 6-9 with a 4.06 ERA.
When asked about his elbow after the game, Worley said, “It works.”
Then he expanded.
“I feel good,” he said. “The inflammation is not in there the way it was early in the season and I am still lighting up the gun. I hit 93 a few times.”
Manuel mentioned how Worley didn’t have his command but battled. In this season, that constitutes a positive development.
Case in point about the command - it took Worley 99 pitches to get through six innings. Reds winning pitcher Bronson Arroyo threw 59 in his first six and 86 in eight plus innings.
Kevin Frandsen has certainly helped himself in these late-season games and Domonic Brown has been playing well, batting .282 with a .397 OBP.
This may have been his best all-around, with a home run, double and a sensational catch and later just as impressive throw gunning down a runner at the plate. It’s the type of performance that makes a team not want to give up on the organization’s former top prospect.
Manuel was genuinely excited talking about Brown’s play. Maybe it took his mind momentarily off this 57-67 season, one that has even sapped some of the enthusiasm from this baseball lifer.