If you think Cole Hamels is pitching like crap, just look deep in the bull pen and you will see another 2008 monster leaving you scratching your head. We know what Hamels’ problems are and it’s the fact that he is lazy and hasn’t had to be challenged all year. He’ll be fine in October.
Now back to the problem. Brad Lidge has been absolutely terrible. He was Mr. Perfect. He went 41/41 in the season and 7/7 in the playoffs. This year, Lidge has looked more like Billy Wagner of 2008. In 53 appearances and 46.2 innings, Lidge has blown nine saves and boasts an ERA of 7.33 and a WHIP of 1.80.
Last night was just another example of his wheels falling off his bus. After the Phillies fought back to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth, Lidge surrenders a hit and an error allows the tying run to score. Then he gets rattled so bad that he gave up a two-run walk-off homer to a rookie who doesn’t hit for power.
So what do we do with Lidge? Before you think it, you can not put him in the minors unless he is injured. There is a waivers system and he can get picked up. Now he does have knee problems but he is unwilling to admit that he is hurt.
You also have guys in your system as options. Ryan Madson tried his hand at closing earlier this year and failed at it, blowing a pair of saves and took a while to shake the nerves when Lidge came back. You also have Chan Ho Park, who has been their best reliever but you don’t want to move him from his comfortable role as long reliever. Newly demoted Jamie Moyer? Not if you want to see 81 MPH fastballs leave the yard. A healthy Romero? See Park.
So what does that leave us with then? Well with a hungry Brett Myers rehabbing in the minors, he looks to be ready by mid-September. He will most likely bolster the bull pen and I can really see him closing games in the playoffs.
Here is why:
He’s in his contract year and if teams see him come back with fire in his belly, they will show interest in him. He could also try to impress the Phillies as with his return next year, they could have the best rotation in baseball. Imagine Cliff Lee, Hamels, Joe Blanton, JA Happ, and Myers in a 5-man rotation.
Another reason why Myers could close is how well he pitched in 2007 as a closer. He went 5-5 with a 2.87 ERA. He saved 21/24 games including the game where the Phillies clinched their first division title and playoff appearance in 14 years.
Myers has the mentality to be an effective closer. He also has the stuff. His fastball is hitting the low-mid 90’s and he has a really good curveball, more effective than Lidge’s current slider. Move Lidge to a different spot in the pen or DL him for the season while Myers takes the reigns and helps this team repeat. Lidge will only hinder this team in the long run. We love you Lidgey-poo but not this year.