ONE OF THE oldest baseball clichés is that it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Unless, of course, it's the rain-delayed Game 5 of the World Series with play resuming in the bottom of the sixth and a World Series trophy shimmering just across the finish line for the Phillies.
Last night it was a sprint. With that in mind, with each decision Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel and Tampa Bay's Joe Maddon had to make having the potential to change the season, here's a look at what each manager did during the abbreviated 4-3 Phillies clincher . . . and how it turned out.
Move: With righthander Grant Balfour on the mound, Manuel sent lefthanded-swinging Geoff Jenkins up to bat for pitcher Cole Hamels.
Counter-move: Wanting switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins to bat lefthanded and with Jayson Werth to follow, Maddon left
Balfour in the game, even though lefty J.P. Howell also had been warming up.
Result: Jenkins, who batted just .222 in September and was 0-for-3 in the postseason, doubled off the wall in right-center.
"I was fine with pitching Grant against the lefthander," Maddon said.
Said Manuel: "Even if they brought in a lefthander, I had
already decided to let Jenkins hit because he's capable of hitting the ball out of the yard. And I wanted to keep [Greg] Dobbs and [Matt] Stairs back for the eighth or ninth."
Move: Instead of trying to drive in the run himself, Rollins dropped a sacrifice bunt. Rollins later said that, even if Manuel had allowed him to hit away, he still planned to bunt.
Move: With one out and a runner on third, Maddon brought his infield in.
Result: When Werth hit a popup to shallow center, Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura had a long way to go. He got to the ball and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but couldn't hold on. Even though Jenkins had to stay at third until he saw the ball hit the ground, he scored the go-ahead run
"It was just out of our range," Maddon said. "They just put us in some very difficult moments."
Move: With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard due up, Maddon brought Howell in to relieve
Result: Utley struck out and, after Werth turned a possible pickoff into a stolen base, Howard popped up to end the
Move: Manuel brought righthander Ryan Madson in to start the inning.
Result: Madson wasn't nearly as sharp as he'd been in September (0.64 earned run average) or the postseason (1.50). Despite chilly conditions and a wind blowing toward rightfield, Rocco Baldelli ripped a game-tying home run to left to tie the score. With that, Hamels lost his chance for a fifth straight postseason win.
Bartlett followed with a single to left.
Move: Maddon, husbanding his bullpen and his bench, left Howell in the game to bunt.
Result: In the short term, it worked. Howell sacrificed Bartlett to second.
Move: Manuel relieved Madson with J.C. Romero.
Result: Iwamura hit a slow grounder up the middle. Second baseman Utley made a terrific play to keep the ball in the infield. The Phillies got a bonus when Utley faked a throw to first. Iwamura ran through a stop sign. Utley wheeled and threw him out at the plate.
Move: Maddon decided to leave Howell in the game, even though righthanded-hitting Pat Burrell was up. "I liked J.P. all the way through Burrell," Maddon explained.
Result: Burrell got his first hit of the World Series, a drive off the wall in deepest center that missed being a home run by just a few feet.
Move: Submarining righthander Chad Bradford came in to pitch for Tampa Bay.
Move: Eric Bruntlett ran for Burrell; he would stay in to play leftfield. Shane Victorino twice failed to get a bunt down, then advanced the runner anyway by grounding out to second.
Move: Maddon once again brought the infield in and decided to pitch to Pedro Feliz instead of walking him and trying to get Carlos Ruiz to ground into a
Result: Feliz rolled a grounder up the middle for an RBI single. He probably would have been out if the infield had been back, but the run would have scored anyway.
"I did think about walking
Feliz," Maddon said. "I just thought he would put the ball on the ground. And Ruiz had been having such a hot series. I thought about all that, but it just didn't work out."
Said Manuel: "It crossed my mind to pinch-hit for Feliz, but at the same time I felt like he could make contact."
Move: With two outs and a runner on first, Manuel pulled Greg Dobbs from the on-deck circle and let Romero bat so he could face Carl Crawford leading off the eighth.
Result: Crawford singled sharply to center.
Move: With righthanded-hitting B.J. Upton at the plate, Manuel elected to leave Romero in the game.
Move: Maddon didn't have the speedy Crawford stealing. "That's up to [Crawford]. He's on his own," the Rays manager said.
Result: Upton grounded into a doubleplay.
Move: With Carlos Pena up, the Phillies moved shortstop Jimmy Rollins over to the spot where Utley usually plays, packing the right side, and third baseman Feliz was where Rollins normally is.
Result: Pena went the other way, but lined out to leftfielder Bruntlett.
Move: Maddon double-switched, bringing Willy Aybar in to play first and lefthander David Price in to pitch.
Result: Price pitched a scoreless inning despite a two-out walk and a stolen base by Utley.
"In retrospect, maybe you put him in earlier," Maddon said. "But if you look at our bullpen, all those guys were well-rested. David has done well, but I didn't want to put that on him."
Move: Manuel brought closer Brad Lidge in to pitch.
Result: With one out, catcher Dioner Navarro singled. The sellout crowd began to worry, remembering that Lidge hadn't blown a save all season.
Move: Fernando Perez came in to run for Navarro and Ben Zobrist pinch-hit for Baldelli.
Result: Perez stole second. The crowd went silent for a moment when Zobrist hit a line drive to right, then began to cheer wildly when it turned out to be right at Werth for the second out.
Move: Eric Hinske pinch-hit for Bartlett.
Result: Lights out! Hinske struck out. Players ran onto the field and the crowd waved its rally towels and shouted itself hoarse. A huge banner was unfurled from the top of the centerfield wall. Motorcycle police came onto the outfield warning track. A stage was assembled on the field behind second base.
The Phillies, for the second time in franchise history, were the world champions. *