Maybe Ruben Amaro Was Right to Fire Charlie Manuel?

One doesn’t want to be insensitive to the orgy of grief that engulfed the town when Phillies manager—uh, sorry, ex-manager—Charlie Manuel got fired a couple of weeks back. And one cannot discount the popular theory that Manuel would still have a job if GMRuben Amaro Jr. had given him a roster that could actually win. Nonetheless, it’s probably worth pointing out that the Phillies are now 7-4 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg. That .636 winning percentage, stretched out over 162 games, would win 103 games. Ignore the small sample size: Clearly Sandberg is the best manager in all of Phillies history. (We’ll now remove our tongue from our cheek. Mostly.)

Not, apparently, that anybody’s going to admit the possibility of cause-and-effect. Here’s AP reporting on Monday’s 2-1 victory over the Mets:

Cliff Lee is not blaming Charlie Manuel for the Philadelphia Phillies‘ lackluster season, nor is he going to credit new manager Ryne Sandberg for their recent run of improved play.

“We’re grinding it out a little more, just playing hard from the start to the finish,” Lee said. “It’s just more of a get-after-it-and-let’s-go-frame of mind.”

Shorter Lee: We’re playing harder for Sandberg than we did for Manuel. And, you know, no surprise really. A midseason managerial firing means a whole bunch of jobs are on the line. The Phillies are suddenly playing for theirs. It may be the only reason we get entertaining ballgames during the last month of the season.