Charlie Manuel, Phillies
Manuel has managed seven full seasons in the big leagues -- with the Indians prior to the Phillies -- and has never finished lower than second place while averaging 90 wins.
This is the fourth of those seasons that has stretched into the playoffs, and Manuel is getting the hang of that, too.
Since quick Division Series exits with the 2001 Indians and '07 Phillies, Manuel has managed wins in 18 of his past 23 postseason games, including a resounding victory in five games over the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
Much like his counterpart in the World Series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Manuel has had a relatively smooth postseason. There was some mild criticism that he overmanaged the bullpen in a Game 2 loss to the Dodgers, but that's about it.
C. Ruiz - J. Posada
R. Howard - M. Teixeira
C. Utley - R. Cano
J. Rollins - D. Jeter
P. Feliz - A. Rodriguez
Phillies - Yankees
Phillies - Yankees
B. Francisco-H. Matsui
Phillies - Yankees
B. Lidge - M. Rivera
Phillies - Yankees
C. Manuel - J. Girardi
- Series predictions >>
Manuel has been lauded in Philadelphia for a fight-to-the-last-out mantra that his players have fully embraced, starting with the postseason in 2008, a magical run that ended in a World Series title. The same thing appears to be happening in '09.
"We live in the moment around here," Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "You hear Charlie say it a lot -- that we're resilient, and I really think we are. We come to play hard every day. We have a good vibe and a positive outlook."
Said Manuel: "We always talk about how it takes 27 outs to close out the game. I tell them to stay there until it's over."
Manuel has been loyal to his players, sticking with closer Brad Lidge, who struggled in the regular season, and he's fostered an ego-free clubhouse. There might be superstar power on the field in NLCS MVP Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and pitcher Cliff Lee, but no one in the clubhouse sees it that way.
"I think we've got a bunch of guys who love to play baseball," Manuel said.
Joe Girardi, Yankees
It's been some ride so far for Girardi, who is making his first foray into the postseason in his second season as Yankees manager.
After leading the Yankees to 89 wins and a third-place finish in 2008, Girardi helped the Yankees win 103 games in '09, their highest win total since 2002. The Yankees were in first place for 90 days during the season, including the final 77.
The postseason has gone so well for the Yankees that Girardi hasn't found himself under the microscope often, a true rarity for games in October.
Part of this, Girardi has insisted, is because of meticulous preparation. He keeps a thick binder packed with statistical analysis, various charts and anything else he believes will get him and the Yankees an edge in a series.
But in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Angels, Girardi found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, as he was accused of overmanaging his bullpen in the 11th inning of a 5-4 loss to the Angels.
In those games, Girardi used Hideki Matsui as the designated hitter instead of Posada because, as he said, "Matsui is a lot more experienced as a DH."
If anything, Girardi knows the postseason drill -- maybe not as a manager, but certainly as a player.
He won three World Series titles with the Yankees from 1996-99. He also has the distinction of having caught both Dwight Gooden's no-hitter in 1996 and David Cone's perfect game in 1999.
Though he had never managed in the postseason before this year's ALDS, he does have the most postseason playing experience (39 games) of any manager in the AL.
Note: Hitter evaluations based on a 100-point scale, factoring in power, contact hitting, speed, fielding, experience, recent performances and moxie. Click on each expert to see all of their selections for the 2009 World Series.
World Series manager matchup
|Panelist||Charlie Manuel||Joe Girardi||Expert analysis|
|90||80||Manuel is the country boy who rolls the ball out and lets his coaches help him think; Girardi is the uber-micromanager who can lose this series by the way he handles his bullpen. America will scratch its head in unison on any given night if Girardi continues to overthink.|
|84||80||Manuel's proven himself this postseason to be a superb tactician, choosing from among numerous useful but inconsistent pitching options. Girardi has taken criticism for overuse of his bullpen, but his aggressive use of Rivera shows a savvy deployment of his most valuable weapon.|
|90||85||Manuel is calmer, and his players respond to him, while Girardi sometimes manages like he's trying too hard to impress -- especially in his bullpen decisions.|
|100||80||Manuel's constant guiding hand and the fact that he's been there before gives him a slight edge over Girardi's aggressiveness and inexperience as a manager in postseason.|
|90||85||Some of Charlie Manuel's press briefings are headscratchers, but he knows what he's doing and he's the defending champion. Girardi's team won more games than anybody and now he gets the acid test.|
|96||90||Manuel has more big game experience, and he's the best manager I've ever seen in handling personalities on a ballclub.|
|95||84||Manuel has quietly become a strong tactical manager, rarely making a big mistake. Girardi is prone to overmanaging, falling in love with matchups and small ball. He doesn't need to push so many buttons with this team.|
|100||85||No one in uniform for this World Series knows more baseball than Charlie Manuel. Has quietly guided the Phillies to back-to-back pennants when at times they seemed to falter. Girardi lacks the experience and it has shown with his handling of the bullpen while the Yankees' enormous talent has saved him.|
Final tally: Manuel 93.1, Girardi 83.6
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.