Game 121 - Friday Night, August 16th in Philadelphia
Record - 53-68, 4th Place, 21 1/2 games behind the Braves
One Sentence Summary: The Ryne Sandberg era began the same way the Charlie Manuel era ended - with a boring loss.
What It Means: The game was certainly secondary to the surprising news from earlier in the day that long-time manager Manuel was being relieved of his duties. The Phillies were very careful in not calling the move a "firing," but Manuel is gone nevertheless. The winningest manager in franchise history handled his final press conference with complete class and he went out with style and grace. "I didn't resign and I did not quit," he said.
Like a lot of Phillies fans, I wasn't in the Manuel camp when he first came on board as the team's manager in 2005. I was a big fan of Larry Bowa, the team's manager before Manuel, and I hated to see the popular and fiery Bowa leave town. But Manuel won me and the rest of Philadelphia over, which is easy to do when you're winning and winning often. He was at the helm for the most successful stretch in the franchise's 130-year history and he's destined to join other legendary Phillies on the team's Wall of Fame.
It's the end of an era, and I'm sad to see that era go. But the game goes on, and it's time to see if interim manager Sandberg will usher in the next great era of Phillies baseball.
What Went Wrong: The Phillies were held to just two hits through eight innings, and they ended the game with just three hits overall. Darin Ruf struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and end any threat of a Phillies rally. Cliff Lee pitched eight strong innings, allowing a two-run home run to Hanley Ramirez in the fourth.
Featured Card: Thank you Charlie and best of luck.