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Phillies hire Charlie Manuel as hitting coach

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Here’s one from out of left field: multiple people covering the Phillies are reporting that the Phillies have installed Charlie Manuel as their hitting coach. John Mallee has been fired.

Manuel, of course, was the Phillies manager for nine seasons, leading them to a World Series title in 2008 and a pennant in 2009. He made his bones in the bigs, however, as a hitting coach, serving in that role for the Cleveland Indians from 1988 to 1989 and again from 1994 to 1999. Manuel’s instruction — and, obviously, some talented hitters — helped the Indians lead the American League in runs three times and set a franchise record in 1999 with 1,009 runs. After that season Manuel took over as the Indians’ manager before moving on to Philly.

Under Mallee, described as an analytically-based hitting coach, the club has disappointed offensively, posting a .738 OPS this season, which ranks 12th in the National League and 22nd in the majors. But really, their offense has been bad by every measure. Through Sunday they ranked in the bottom half of the National League in almost every hitting category: ninth in runs; 10th in hits; 11th in home runs; 10th in on-base percentage; 12th in slugging; 12th in weighted on-base average; and 10th in weighted runs created plus (91).

Manuel, who is 75 years-old, is not analytically based, so the Phillies are definitely going for a change here. It’s also worth noting that his new boss — Gabe Kapler — has been nowhere near as successful as a Phillies manager as Manuel was. Which makes me wonder if the front office isn’t sending a message in addition to making a coaching change.

Chris Archer exits start after one inning due to apparent injury

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Pirates starter Chris Archer exited Tuesday night’s start against the Pirates while warming up ahead of the second inning. He was examined by the Pirates’ training staff before walking off the field. The reason is currently unknown but an update should be forthcoming.

Archer allowed a pair of singles before getting consecutive strikeouts to see his way out of the first inning. The 30-year-old right-hander has had a forgettable year in Pittsburgh, entering Tuesday’s action 3-9 with a 5.23 ERA and a 141/55 K/BB ratio in 118 2/3 innings.

The Pirates, overall, are in rough shape, losing 22 of their last 27 games dating back to July 21. They are 51-73, 15.5 games out of first place in the NL Central cellar. It may behoove them to play it safe with Archer since they don’t have anything to play for over the remainder of the regular season. The club holds options for his 2020 and ’21 seasons at $9 million and $11 million, respectively.