Brad Lidge was back to his usual self once again. While everyone is counting down the Phillies magic number (5 for Atlanta and 4 for Florida), I’m counting up for Lidge’s blown save total. He is currently sitting at 11. That is absolute garbage. Some consider this the best Phillies team ever and he is holding them back.
He held them back again in their series loss to the Marlins. After crushing Florida in the first game and being shut out the second game on Tuesday, the offense provided them with enough runs to win the game and move one game closer to clinching the division but Ryan Madson and Lidge combined for three earned runs to give the Marlins the 7-6 win.
I have asked this question throughout the season and I will ask it again: what the hell are we going to do about Lidge and the closer role for the playoffs? Brett Myers is nursing a back injury and will be out another week. Scott Eyre, Chan Ho Park, and JC Romero are all looking at returns to the pen around the same time as Myers but like Brett, won’t even be close to taking a role like closer.
Of the healthy choices, Madson sucks as a closer and that is all there is to it. Jamie Moyer does not have the stuff to be a closer, especially with an 82 MPH fastball and a 76-78 MPH change-up. Pedro Martinez could most likely be the fourth starter in the playoffs. JA Happ may actually be a great choice but he is also battling Martinez for the fourth rotation spot and will likely serve as a primary reliever if he is placed in the pen.
The term “Closer by committee” has been thrown around a lot after Lidge’s poor display last night and I totally agree. Tyler Walker has earned a crack at the closer role and Clay Condrey could take a stab as well. Those two along with Martinez/Happ/Moyer, Park, and maybe Madson/Lidge could work together to take turns and finish this out.
It’s all in the hands of Charlie Manuel who said this:
“Him and Madson, that’s what we’ve got in the back of our bull pen. He was our closer last year and he’ll be our closer now… You’re supposed to win a majority of those games/ Exactly what percent I don’t know but it’s God damn high… “Those are our guys. That’s what we’ve got. We’ll stick with them… (Lidge) has to do it. Between him and Madson, they’ve got to do it, I should say. They’ve got to get it done.”
Is Manuel tired of this crap? Certainly but he’s relying on keeping Lidge in until he fixes his stuff. We remember the last time Manuel stood by Lidge: he yanked him with the bases loaded and let Lidge watch Madson get out of the jam. Manuel knows what he’s doing (we hope) so it’s all in his hands.